Hawkeyes Ready For In-State Rival Drake

Feb. 23, 2009

THIS WEEK — The 59th-ranked University of Iowa men’s tennis team will host in-state rival Drake Wednesday. The match is scheduled to begin at 6 p.m. Iowa will then face DePaul Saturday at 11 a.m. Both matches will be played at the Hawkeye Tennis and Recreation Complex. Admission is free.

SCOUTING DRAKE — Drake, ranked 53rd nationally, enters Wednesday’s match with a record of 2-6. Drake and Iowa share a common opponent, having both lost to Denver, 4-3. The Bulldogs are led by fourth-year Head Coach Chase Hodges. Iowa assistant coach Steve Nash played at Drake and was named to the all-Missouri Valley Conference singles team in 1994. Additionally, Nash was a Missouri Valley Conference singles and doubles champion that year.

SCOUTING DePAUL — DePaul, ranked 75th nationally, currently holds a record of 9-1. They are coached by former Iowa assistant Matt Brothers. Brothers was an assistant under Steve Houghton for five seasons. DePaul and Iowa share two common opponents this season. Both teams defeated Illinois State and Western Michigan.

THE SERIES — Iowa is 23-8 all-time against rival Drake and 7-1 all-time against DePaul. The Hawkeyes played at Drake in 2008, falling 5-2. Iowa hosted DePaul last season, winning 6-1.

LAST TIME OUT — The Hawkeyes swept both Illinois State (Feb. 13) and Western Michigan (Feb. 15) at the Hawkeye Tennis and Recreation Complex.

IN THE RANKINGS — Iowa is ranked No. 59 in the latest ITA team rankings. The Hawkeyes have two nationally ranked doubles teams. Freshman Will Vasos and junior Tommy McGeorge are ranked as the 65th doubles duo in the nation. In addition, senior Christian Bierich and sophomore Nikita Zotov are ranked 68th. The rankings 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 302-310 (.492) since taking over the program in 1982. 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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