Hawkeyes to Compete in Big Ten Tournament

Complete Big Ten Tournament Preview with Individual Player Information in PDF Format
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April 26, 2004

This Week: The Iowa men’s tennis team will travel to East Lansing, MI, to compete in the Big Ten Tournament. The Hawkeyes, seeded 11th, will face sixth-seeded Indiana in the first round Thursday at 2 p.m. Competition is scheduled to take place at the MSU Tennis Facility. Admission is free.

The Hoosiers: Indiana, ranked 59th nationally, is 11-11 overall and finished the conference season 5-5 after losses at Purdue and top-ranked Illinois. Junior Jakub Praibis, ranked 62nd nationally, junior Ryan Recht and sophomore Neil Kenner lead the Hoosiers in singles competition. Recht and sophomore John Stone are Indiana’s top doubles team. Indiana is coached by Ken Hydinger.

The Series: Indiana leads the series over Iowa, 41-15. In their last meeting, the Hoosiers swept the Hawkeyes (7-0) in Bloomington on April 18.

Tournament Information: Defending Big Ten and national champion Illinois enters the tournament as the No. 1 seed. The Illini, ranked No. 1 nationally, have won the last eight regular season conference titles and have won seven out of the last eight conference tournament titles. Illinois currently holds a 57-match winning streak. Ohio State, ranked 20th, is the No. 2 seed. The Buckeyes are the only team to have interrupted Illinois’ conference tournament streak with their win in 2001. Minnesota, ranked 35th, is the No. 3 seed. The Gophers have advanced to the championship match the last two tournaments. The following is a list of tournament match-ups. In the event of inclement weather, starting times are subject to change. Matches are played until a team wins four points. Once a team reaches four points, the remaining matches are abandoned. All times are Eastern.

Thursday, April 29:
Match 1: (No. 8) Michigan vs. (No. 9) Michigan State — 10 a.m.
Match 2: (No. 11) Iowa vs. (No. 6) Indiana — 2 p.m.
Match 3: (No. 10) Wisconsin vs. (No. 7) Penn State — 10 a.m.

Friday, April 30:
Match 4: Match 1 winner vs. (No. 1) Illinois — 10 a.m.
Match 5: (No. 5) Purdue vs. (No. 4) Northwestern — 2 p.m.
Match 6: Match 2 winner vs. (No. 3) Minnesota — 2 p.m.
Match 7: Match 3 winner vs. (No. 2) Ohio State — 10 a.m.

Saturday, May 1:
Match 8: Match 4 winner vs. Match 5 winner — 10 a.m.
Match 9: Match 6 winner vs. Match 7 winner — 2 p.m.

Sunday, May, 2:
Match 10: Match 8 winner vs. Match 9 winner — noon

Hawkeyes Drop Final Two Conference Duals: Iowa finished the season winless in conference play after losing to No. 20 Ohio State (7-0) and No. 63 Penn State (5-2). Iowa lost all three doubles matches and was swept in singles competition against the Buckeyes. The Hawkeyes also lost all three doubles matches against Penn State, but were able to claim two singles victories.

Malempati Records First Win Over Ranked Opponent: With freshman Sebastian Delgado unable to compete in singles competition against Penn State, sophomore Chaitu Malempati stepped up to Iowa’s top position and recorded a victory over Malcolm Scatliffe, ranked 98th nationally. Scatliffe dominated the first set (6-0) but Malempati rallied to tie the match with a 7-5 second-set victory. Malempati then jumped out to a convincing 5-0 lead in the third set, but Scatliffe fought back winning the next four games. Malempati prevailed winning the next game to claim his first career victory over a ranked opponent.

Young Hawkeyes: Youth and inexperience have been a factor for Iowa during the 2004 dual season . Of the nine players on the Iowa roster, only senior Matis Jasicek and sophomores Chaitu Malempati and Johan Bergenas had previous Big Ten playing experience. The other six newcomers on the roster include sophomore transfer Aaron Schaechterle and freshmen Sebastian Delgado, Jonny Hoak, Walter Valarezo, Ryan Reid and Scott Elwell.

Tough Competition: Of Iowa’s 19 opponents during the dual season, 11 are currently ranked including nine Big Ten teams. The Hawkeyes best results against ranked opponents have come in 5-2 losses to No. 35 Minnesota, No. 42 Northwestern and No. 63 Penn State.

Doubles Woes Continue: Iowa has claimed the doubles point in only three of its 19 matches this season. Two of those points contributed to dual wins.

Delgado Leads Singles: After competing the first half of the season at No. 2 singles, Sebastian Delgado has stepped into the top position. He currently leads the team with five singles victories. In only his third match at No. 1 singles, Delgado posted a straight-set victory over Northwestern’s Tommy Hanus. Delgado is the only Hawkeye to receive Big Ten Player of the Week honors. He received conference accolades February 23 after going undefeated at No. 2 singles and No. 1 doubles in Iowa wins over Marquette and Indiana State. Delgado is also teamed with Walter Valarezo as Iowa’s top doubles team.

Malempati Enters Tournament on High: After starting the season 1-14, Chaitu Malempati has won two of his last four matches. Malempati enters the tournament coming off a win over Penn State’s Malcolm Scatliffe. He has also defeated Wisconsin’s David Hippee in dual competition. Malempati is currently teamed with Jonny Hoak at No. 2 doubles.

Valarezo Records Big Win Over Wisconsin: Walter Valarezo has been a steady contributor for the Hawkeyes competing in every dual this season. He has played at the No. 2 thru No. 5 singles positions and all three doubles positions. He is currently teamed with Sebastian Delgado at Iowa’s top position. Valarezo’s biggest win of the season came in a thrilling three-set victory over Wisconsin’s Scott Green.

Hoak Best Against Conference Foes: Jonny Hoak leads the Hawkeyes with three singles victories in Big Ten competition, including two at the No. 3 position. Hoak has defeated Minnesota’s Andres Osorio, Wisconsin’s Tom Bagnato and most recently Penn State’s Clint Keithley. Hoak has also competed at both the No. 2 and No. 3 doubles positions. He currently competes at No. 2 doubles with Chaitu Malempati.

Schaechterle Leads in Overall Wins: Aaron Schaechterele leads the Hawkeyes with nine singles victories during the fall and spring seasons combined. He has competed during the dual season at the No. 4, No. 5 and No. 6 positions and has recorded four dual victories. He posted three consecutive victories in Iowa wins over DePaul, Marquette and Indiana State. Schaechterle is currently teamed with Matis Jasicek at No. 3 doubles. The duo’s biggest victory of the season came in a win over Illinois’ Michael Calkins and Evan Zeder.

Jasicek Steps Up in Senior Campaign: After battling through injures earlier in his career, Matis Jasicek has been a solid contributor for the Hawkeyes in both singles and doubles competition. His most important singles victory of the year came in a win over Northwestern’s Justin Hoeveler. Jasicek is currently teamed with Aaron Schaechterle at No. 3 doubles.

Head Coach: Steve Houghton, the dean of Big Ten tennis coaches, is in his 23rd season as head coach of the Hawkeyes. Houghton has a career record of 261-259 (.502). He became the winningest coach in Iowa tennis history in 1992 and is a member of the Iowa Tennis Hall of Fame. He has coached 15 players to 29 all-Big Ten selections including Tyler Cleveland, who became the first men’s player in Big Ten history to be named Big Ten Player of the Year twice. Four of Houghton’s athletes have also been selected Big Ten Sportsman of the Year.

Quoting Houghton: “Playing in the Big Ten Tournament is like starting a new season. I hope we can play our best tennis of the season and pull off a couple of upsets.”