March 21, 2012
THIS WEEK: The University of Iowa men’s tennis team hosts No. 53 Northwestern Friday at the Hawkeye Tennis and Recreation Complex. The match will begin at 1:30 p.m. (CT).
SCOUTING THE OPPONENT: The Wildcats have a 7-6 overall record with an 0-1 mark in Big Ten play. Northwestern fell, 5-2, against Illinois in its previous match. Northwestern’s Spencer Wolf is ranked No. 102 in singles. Northwestern leads the all-time series, 54-27.
LAST TIME OUT: The Hawkeyes competed against three ranked teams in as many days, competing at the 54th Rice Invitational over spring break. Iowa fell short against No. 63 Tulane (4-0), No. 64 Rice (4-1) and No. 34 Memphis (4-0). Iowa won the doubles point against the Owls, with victories in No. 1 and No. 3 doubles play. Sophomore Chase Tomlins and senior Will Vasos won 8-6 at the No. 3 position to give Iowa an early advantage. Sophomore Michael Swank and junior Garret Dunn clinched the doubles point for the Hawkeyes, winning 9-8 in No. 1 doubles play.
DUNN LEADING TEAM: Junior Garret Dunn has led the Hawkeyes in both singles and doubles this season. The Tempe, Ariz., native leads the team in singles wins with six, and leads the team along with Swank and Vasos in doubles with five wins.
STRENGTH OF SCHEDULE: Half of the opponents Iowa has faced this season were nationally ranked at the time, while eight opponents Iowa has faced are currently ranked. Seven of Iowa’s final 10 opponents are nationally ranked.
NEWCOMERS TO LINEUP: Four Hawkeyes have made their first dual singles appearance of their collegiate careers this season. Junior Connor Gilmore competed in No. 5 and No. 6 singles at the Rice Invitational. Freshman Andres Estenssoro played No. 6 singles against Illinois. Sophomore Joey White played No. 6 singles against Illinois State. Sophomore Michael Swank competed at No. 6 singles against Western Michigan. Swank has been a doubles regular all season.
HEAD COACH Steve Houghton: Steve Houghton, the dean of Big Ten tennis coaches, is in his 31st year as head coach of the Hawkeyes. He has compiled a career record of 332-352(.489), recording the most wins of any coach in Iowa men’s tennis history. Houghton recorded his 300th win at Indiana State Feb. 6, 2009. He became the winningest coach in Iowa tennis history in 1992 and is a member of the Iowa Tennis Hall of Fame
UP NEXT: The Hawkeyes will return to the courts March 30 at Penn State and on April 1 at Ohio State. The Penn State match will begin at 4:30 p.m. (CT), while the Ohio State match is slated to begin at 11 a.m. (CT).