April 11, 2012
THIS WEEK: The University of Iowa men’s tennis team will take to the state of Michigan this week for two Big Ten road matches. Iowa will be at No. 69 Michigan State on Saturday at the MSU Outdoor Tennis Courts and at No. 22 Michigan on Sunday at the Combe Tennis Center. Both matches will begin at noon (CT).
SCOUTING THE OPPONENTS: Michigan State (14-10) has a 3-5 mark in Big Ten action. The Spartans have one ranked doubles team. The Wolverines (13-5) are 6-1 in Big Ten play this season, which is just one game back from Ohio State. Michigan’s Evan King is ranked No. 8 in singles, and the Wolverines have the 13th-rated doubles team.
LAST TIME OUT: The Hawkeyes had a three game home-stand last week, falling short against three ranked Big Ten foes by identical scores of 6-1. Iowa was defeated by No. 70 Nebraska, No. 23 Indiana and No. 65 Purdue. Sophomore Jonas Dierckx earned a No. 4 singles win against Nebraska. Senior Will Vasos defeated Indiana’s Josh MacTaggart in straight sets at No. 2 singles. Junior Garret Dunn won No. 4 singles for Iowa against Purdue.
IOWA’S CONSISTENT LEADER: Dunn has consistently led Iowa in singles play this season, racking up seven dual singles wins. The Tempe, Ariz., native has the most singles wins on the team. Dunn has played as high as No. 2 singles this year.
STRENGTH OF SCHEDULE: Three of Iowa’s four final opponents are currently nationally ranked by the ITA. The Hawkeyes have competed against 10 ranked teams in their last 11 matches, and have seen 11 ranked teams overall.
SPEER RETURNS TO LINEUP: Senior Christopher Speer returned to the lineup after recovering from a hand injury, competing at No. 6 singles against Indiana and Purdue. Speer is the fifth Hawkeye to make his first dual singles appearance of his collegiate career this season. The Vernon Hills, Ill., native had a stellar fall campaign, finishing the fall season with a 10-2 singles record and three flight titles.
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 332-356 (.484), 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: Iowa travels to Wisconsin on April 20 before closing the regular season with its senior day match against No. 40 Minnesota at home on April 22. The Wisconsin match begins at 2 p.m. (CT) while the Minnesota match will start at noon (CT).