Feb. 20, 2010
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By David Meyer
IOWA CITY, Iowa — University of Iowa junior Jessica Young was looking for another victory when she faced off against Marquette’s Rachael Hush for the second consecutive year.
In 2009, Young overcame Hush in a hard-fought battle, 4-6, 6-4, 6-3. This time, the Bloomfield Hills, Mich., product used her experience to get a more comfortable decision. On Friday, Young cruised past Hush in straight sets, 6-0, 6-4.
Iowa went on to win the meet, 6-1, to improve to 4-1 on the season.
Young is 9-3 on the year, with one of her defeats coming last weekend at Kansas. She fell to the Jayhawks’ Erin Wibert, 6-3, 6-4. That loss motivated Young to put in extra time leading up to Friday’s meet against the Golden Eagles.
“She had kind of a rough match last weekend, but she came back really willing to work and just prepare this whole week,” said UI women’s tennis assistant Mira Radu, “She was really mentally ready to execute and stay focused on what she needed to do.”
Young’s concentration showed from the first point.
“I was really confident going in,” Young said. “I hit a lot, practiced a lot with my coach. I really just went for my shots when I had them and they started going in, so then I built more confidence and took it from there.”
After Young had rattled off seven straight games, the match seemed well in hand.
“She (Hush) pretty well,” Radu said. “We just told her to play her game, which is an aggressive game; make her move and capitalize on short balls, which she did really well.”
Young heeded her coaches’ advice, working the baseline and making her opponent cover the entire court. This tactic forced Hush into many difficult returns and set Young up for winners.
“I knew she was a big hitter so I was just ready to make a lot of balls and let her be the one to miss and it just turned out that she gave me opportunities right away and I took them,” said Young.
Young, like her adversary, can be classified as a big hitter. She ended many rallies with devastating shots down the line.
“I was really confident going in. I hit a lot, practiced a lot with my coach. I really just went for my shots when I had them and they started going in, so then I built more confidence and took it from there.”
UI junior Jessica Young
Young, a two-time high school All-American, looked the part against Hush. She is finally feeling healthy and it is showing in her play.
“She had some pretty significant injuries the past couple years, but she’s just really tough,” said Radu. “She’s recovered really well and she’s working hard. I’m proud of her.”
Young had a slight let-up as the second set began, but it took her no time at all to get back up to top form.
“I got a little tight in the second set (the score showed), but it’s my third match back and I’m really happy with how I played,” said Young. “I stuck through it, so that was good.”
UI first-year head coach Katie Dougherty has been quoted as saying Young knows how to win matches, and she exemplified that quality in finishing off Hush.
Young was also complimentary of her skipper as she spoke for herself and her teammates.
“We love our new coach,” said Young.
Dougherty has her Iowa team playing well. After falling to No. 6 Notre Dame to open the season, the Hawkeyes have not lost a meet. Their 6-1 victory over Marquette gave them four wins in a row. Young hopes to be an integral part of a team whose ultimate goal is to qualify for the NCAA championships.
“We want to make NCAAs and if we keep going at this rate, hopefully that will come,” said Young. “We just want to play our best and compete. That’s our main goal: compete every single match and every single point.”
Young and the Hawkeyes return to the Hawkeye Tennis and Recreation Complex on Sunday to play Iowa State at 11 a.m. The dual is part of the Hy-Vee Cy-Hawk Series between the schools. The Cyclones currently hold a 12-7 edge.