Iowa Set To Open Big Ten Season

Feb. 26, 2007

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THIS WEEK — The University of Iowa men’s tennis team (4-2), ranked No. 65, will host intrastate rival Drake Wednesday at 6 p.m. at the Hawkeye Tennis and Recreation Complex. Iowa will start the Big Ten season Friday when they travel to Minneapolis, MN, to compete against Minnesota. Play will begin at 6:30 p.m.

SCOUTING DRAKE — The Drake Bulldogs (7-2) recently posted wins against No. 72 Nebraska and No. 65 DePaul. The team’s two losses came from No. 32 Minnesota and No. 29 Rice. The doubles team of junior Dalibor Pavic and sophomore Maor Zirkin is currently ranked 17th. Pavic is also No. 98 in the singles rankings.

SCOUTING MINNESOTA — The No. 24 Minnesota Golden Gophers (7-2, 1-0) most recently recorded wins over Michigan State and SMU. Freshman Dino Bilankov is leading the team in singles competition with a 5-2 dual record. The doubles team of senior Andres Osorio and junior Chi-Lang Pham is currently 5-1 in doubles competition.

THE SERIES — Iowa leads the overall series against Drake, 23-6. Minnesota is ahead of Iowa in the series record, 33-49.

LAST TIME OUT — The Hawkeyes lost two close matches last weekend to ranked opponents. Iowa was defeated by No. 39 SMU and No. 58 Western Michigan, both by the score of 4-3. Iowa competed against SMU in Minneapolis and Western Michigan in Iowa City. The doubles team of juniors Bart van Monsjou and J.P. Ritchie recorded two wins and remain undefeated in dual competition. Freshman Patrick Dwyer also posted two victories and remains undefeated in dual singles 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 281-288 (.494). 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.