Hawkeyes Ready For Spring Season

Jan. 28, 2009

THIS WEEK — The 60th-ranked University of Iowa men’s tennis team will open its spring season with a dual match against Northern Illinois this weekend. The Hawkeyes and Huskies will battle Saturday at 1:30 p.m. at the Hawkeye Tennis and Recreation Complex. Admission is free. Live scoring will be available at http://live.iowatennis.com/.

SCOUTING NORTHERN ILLINOIS — Northern Illinois is 0-2 entering the weekend. The Huskies dropped dual matches to Big Ten foes Michigan State (6-1) and Wisconsin (5-2). Northern Illinois is led by Head Coach Pawel Gajdzik. He is in his first season at the helm of the program.

THE SERIES — Iowa is 29-5 all-time against Northern Illinois. The Huskies and Hawkeyes met last season in Iowa City. Iowa opened up its 2008 spring season with a 6-1 victory on Jan. 26.

2008 FALL SEASON — The Hawkeyes enjoyed a successful 2008 fall season, capturing numerous individual honors. Senior Christian Bierich captured the Big Ten Singles Championship, becoming the first Hawkeye to do so since 2000. Bierich also won singles Flight A at the Northwestern Invite. Freshman Will Vasos and junior Tommy McGeorge paired up to claim the doubles Flight B at the Northwestern Invite. In addition, four freshmen (Tom Mroziewicz, Mat Nelson, Chris Speer and Vasos) saw their first collegiate action.

IN THE RANKINGS — Iowa is ranked No. 60 in the preseason ITA team rankings and senior Christian Bierich is ranked No. 119 in the singles rankings. They are released every Wednesday and can be found at collegetennisonline.com.

HEAD COACH Steve Houghton — Steve Houghton, the dean of Big Ten tennis coaches, is in his 28th season as head coach of the Hawkeyes. Houghton has a career record of 298-309 (.491) since taking over the program in 1982. His best season came in 1984 when Iowa won a school record 21 matches and finished fourth in the Big Ten Conference. His best season came in 1984 when Iowa won a school record 21 matches and two Hawkeyes earned all-Big Ten honors. In 1989, Houghton was named NCAA Region IV Coach of the Year and picked up his 100th career dual win. 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), second best in Iowa history.

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