Sept. 25, 2006
THIS WEEK — The University of Iowa men’s tennis team will begin its 2006 fall season at two tournaments this weekend. The majority of the squad will play at the Minnesota Invitational, while three Hawkeyes will compete in the Polo Ralph Lauren All-American Tennis Championships in Tulsa, OK.
ALL-AMERICAN TOURNAMENT — Juniors Bart van Monsjou and J.P. Ritchie and sophomore Christian Bierich will travel to Tulsa, OK, to compete in the Polo Ralph Lauren All-American Tennis Championships at the Michael D. Case Tennis Center. All three players will begin play Saturday in the pre-qualifying round. They must win three matches in the pre-qualifying round to advance to the qualifying round. From there, they have a chance at the main draw.
MINNESOTA INVITATIONAL— Seven Hawkeyes will travel to Minneapolis, MN, to compete at the Minnesota Invitational. Play will take place all-day Friday through Sunday at the Baseline Tennis Center. Iowa will face teams from Drake, Minnesota, New Mexico, Wisconsin and Wisconsin-Green Bay. This will be the first collegiate competition for freshmen Tommy McGeorge, Patrick Dwyer and Reinoud Haal.
LAST TIME OUT— The Hawkeyes ended their 2005-06 campaign with a loss to Penn State at the Big Ten Tournament. Juniors J.P. Ritchie and Bart van Monsjou teamed in the No. 1 doubles match to claim the only Hawkeye victory of the day. The Hawkeyes finished the season 6-14 overall and 1-10 in Big Ten competition.
HEAD COACH Steve Houghton — Steve Houghton, the dean of Big Ten tennis coaches, is in his 26th season as head coach of the Hawkeyes. Houghton has a career record of 277-286 (.492). 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 — “The All-American Tournament will be a great opportunity for the three players to secure meaningful wins against national level opponents. In Minnesota there will be a chance for the younger and less experienced players to see action and play higher in the lineup.”