Jan. 23, 2006
THIS WEEK — The Iowa men’s tennis team will open its spring season by hosting Northern Illinois Sunday at the University Recreational Building. Matches will begin at 1:30 p.m. and admission is free to the public.
SCOUTING NORTHERN ILLINOIS— The Northern Illinois Huskies finished with an 11-8 record for the 2004-05 season, going 1-2 in the Mid-American Conference. They opened their spring season with losses to Michigan State and Wisconsin. Sophomore Alex Friesen plays at the No. 1 spot and currently is 0-2. Friesen partners with sophomore Adam Ford for the No. 1 doubles team. They are also 0-2.
THE SERIES — Iowa leads the series 26-5. The Hawkeyes beat the Huskies last season in Iowa City, 6-1.
LAST TIME OUT — Iowa closed its fall season by competing at the Big Ten Indoor Singles Tournament in East Lansing, MI. Eight Hawkeyes competed to win a total seven matches. Freshmen Greg Holm and Zach Frisch each won one match in the qualifying draw. Freshman Christian Bierich won twice in the championship bracket before losing. Senior Chaitu Malempati and sophomores J.P. Ritchie and Bart van Monsjou were all defeated in the opening championship round, but went on to win one round in the consolation bracket.
HEAD COACH Steve Houghton — Steve Houghton, the dean of Big Ten tennis coaches, is in his 25th season as head coach of the Hawkeyes. Houghton has a career record of 270-270 (.500). His best season came in 1984 when Iowa won a school record 21 matches and two Hawkeyes earned all-Big Ten honors. Four of Houghton’s athletes have also been selected Big Ten Sportsman of the Year. He became the winningest coach in Iowa tennis history in 1992 and is a member of the Iowa Tennis Hall of Fame. While playing at Iowa, Houghton had a career winning percentage of .727 (40-15), the second best in Iowa History.
QUOTING COACH HOUGHTON — “Northern Illinois has been our opening match for a number of years. We’ve only had a few days of practice, so the match will be a challenge in that respect. The team is really fired up for this weekend and optimistic about the season.”