March 30, 2009
THIS WEEK — The 52nd-ranked University of Iowa men’s tennis team returns to Iowa City this weekend to continue Big Ten conference play. Iowa will host Illinois Friday in a match scheduled to begin at 1:30 p.m. The Hawkeyes will then host Indiana Sunday. Iowa’s Sunday match against the Hoosiers will also begin at noon. Both matches will be played at the Hawkeye Tennis and Recreation Complex. Admission is free.
SCOUTING ILLINOIS — Illinois, ranked ninth nationally, is currently 13-5 overall and 3-0 in Big Ten conference action. The Fighting Illini are coached by Brad Dancer. He is in his fourth season as the head coach of the program.
SCOUTING INDIANA — Indiana, ranked 45th nationally, is 11-8 overall and 3-0 in conference play. The Hoosiers are led by second-year Head Coach Randy Bloemendaal.
THE SERIES — Iowa is 21-52 all-time against Illinois and 16-45 against Indiana. The Hawkeyes defeated Indiana at home last season in their conference opener, 4-3. Iowa fell to Illinois at home last year, 7-0.
LAST TIME OUT — The Hawkeyes lost to Big Ten rivals Ohio State (7-0) and Penn State (4-3) on the road this past weekend. Ohio State was ranked sixth nationally and Penn State was ranked 53rd.
IN THE RANKINGS — Iowa is ranked No. 52 in the latest ITA team rankings. Nine of the 11 Big Ten Conference schools are ranked. In doubles competition, senior Christian Bierich and sophomore Nikita Zotov are ranked 55th nationally and freshman Will Vasos and junior Tommy McGeorge are ranked 15th in the midwest regional rankings. McGeorge and Vasos are 13-1 in dual match play. Additionally, Bierich is ranked 15th in midwest regional singles. The rankings can be found at collegetennisonline.com or at itatennis.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 308-313 (.496) 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.