Feb. 6, 2014
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Editor’s Note: The following first appeared in the University of Iowa’s Hawk Talk Daily, an e-newsletter that offers a daily look at the Iowa Hawkeyes, delivered free each morning to thousands of fans of the Hawkeyes worldwide.
By CHRIS BREWER
IOWA CITY, Iowa — Courtney Nagle kept the honors. Her father kept the hats.
The former Oregon All-American will be wearing black and gold when her alma mater visits Iowa City on Friday for a women’s tennis match. The Hawkeyes, 2-2 overall, host the nationally ranked Ducks at 1 p.m. (CT) at the Hawkeye Tennis and Recreation Complex.
Nagle, who led Oregon to a pair of NCAA tournament appearances in 2002 and 2004, has an All-America certificate framed in her Carver-Hawkeye Arena office. It sits above an Oregon Athletics Pride trophy.
The rest of her office? It is decorated with Hawkeye tennis, soccer and softball posters.
“I have a couple frames and stuff from the old days, the glory days,” said Nagle, “but that’s about it. My dad has a lot of (Oregon) hats. I gave him a lot of hats over the years. I still have a couple sweatshirts, but otherwise my closet is packed with Iowa stuff.”
Nagle joined the Iowa program in 2012, more than 10 years after she left her home in Northern California to play tennis for the Ducks. She walked on in 2001, helped Oregon reach the NCAA tournament in 2002, and became the school’s first doubles All-American in 2003. As a senior in 2004, she led Oregon back to the NCAA tournament.
Her past in the Pacific Northwest is not only worth remembering, it’s worth celebrating. Nagle knows that, but she’s also very cognizant of the present.
“Once a Duck, always a Duck,” she said. “I watch all the football games, and I still want the Ducks to do well, but not when they’re playing the Hawkeyes.”
Oregon’s trip to Iowa City is the first by a Pac-12 women’s tennis team. Nagle said UI head coach Katie Dougherty suggested the matchup back in 2012, a correspondence ensued, and a 2014-15 home-and-home series was on the schedule.
“I’m excited that the Ducks are here,” said Nagle. “It’s good to have the crossover in conferences, and it is a great opportunity to play another ranked team. We’ll see a lot of great teams in the Big Ten, and this is a chance to test ourselves in our environment.”
The match serves as much more than just a reunion for Nagle, and she says she isn’t looking for another measuring stick against yet another ranked opponent.
“Our players need the challenge, and they need to have these moments that are not guaranteed, but they also need to get the win,” she said. “Any opportunity we have to get a ranked wins helps, and the girls will hopefully have more incentive to beat up on Oregon because it’s my alma mater.”
No. 72 Oregon is the third-straight ranked opponent on Iowa’s schedule, and the first of two ranked opponents on the weekend slate. No. 74 DePaul visits the HTRC on Sunday at 11 a.m. (CT).
Nagle said the nonconference schedule is loaded by design.
“When you challenge yourself you can accomplish something you maybe didn’t think you could. It makes the reward greater,” she said. “So let’s beat the Ducks. Let’s beat DePaul. They’re both good teams, and I expect to see exciting matches all weekend.”