Hawkeyes To Open Big Ten Competition

Feb. 27, 2006

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THIS WEEK — The University of Iowa men’s tennis team will travel to Des Moines Wednesday to face the Drake Bulldogs. Play beings at 6:30 p.m. at the Drake Tennis Center. The Hawkeyes will host Minnesota on Saturday. Competition begins at 12 p.m. in the Recreational Building.

SCOUTING DRAKE — The Drake Bulldogs are 7-1 and in first place in the Missouri Valley Conference. Last week, Drake’s No. 1 singles player, Sergi Vila, was named the Missouri Valley Conference Player of the Week. He is 8-0 on the season. Maor Zirkin and Dalibor Pavic are also 8-0 and play the No. 2 and No. 3 spots. Drake’s head coach is Chase Hodges.

SCOUTING MINNESOTA — The 40th-ranked Golden Gophers are 3-7. Last weekend they were defeated by #30 Louisville and #42 Middle Tennessee State. DJ Geatz, 5-5 in singles, is ranked #49 and has the best record for Minnesota. In doubles, Geatz has teamed with Andres Osario at the No. l spot. The Gophers are coached by David Geatz.

THE SERIES — Iowa leads the all-time series against Drake, 23-5. Last year the Hawkeyes defeated Drake, 6-1, in Iowa City. Iowa is behind in the series against Minnesota, 56-30. The Hawkeyes lost last year, 7-0, in Minneapolis.

LAST TIME OUT — The Hawkeyes defeated DePaul, 6-1, on Feb. 19. Iowa won five of six singles matches and two of three doubles matches. With this win, Iowa improved to 4-1. Sophomore J.P. Ritchie plays the No. 3 singles position and is leading the Hawkeyes with a 4-1 record. The team of senior Chaitu Malempati and sophomore Bart van Monsjou is playing the No. 2 doubles spot and is 4-1. Senior Aaron Schaechterle teams with freshman Christian Bierich to form the No. 3 doubles team. They also are also 4-1.

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 274-271 (.503). 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.