Feb. 16, 2014
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IOWA CITY, Iowa — University of Iowa head coach Steve Houghton called today’s match a “breakthrough win” for the program, and what a breakthrough it was.
The Hawkeyes had fallen to Minnesota the past 15 contests, and had not won a conference match in over two years, but you wouldn’t know it based off today. Senior Juan Estenssoro’s 6-4, 7-5 victory at No. 2 singles clinched a 4-3 Hawkeye win over No. 39 Minnesota Sunday inside the Hawkeye Tennis and Recreation Complex. The win improved Iowa’s overall record to 5-0 overall and 1-0 in conference action.
“I was so happy with this win I almost poured Gatorade all over myself. It was a great team win and really reflects that hard work that has been put in practice,” said Houghton. “Minnesota is a perennial NCAA qualifier, and our guys deserved a win like this.”
Iowa opened the match by taking the doubles point. The point, which ended up being the difference maker in the match, was clinched by a pair of wins from the No. 2 and 3 doubles spots. Junior Matt Hagan and Senior Joey White won 8-3 at No. 3 doubles, while senior Jonas Dierckx and J. Estenssoro won a thrilling 7-6 (7-4) match at No. 2 doubles.
Iowa headed into singles play up 1-0, but the Gophers stuck first, winning at No. 1 and No. 4 singles to make it 2-1 Minnesota. Iowa then won the next three matches to secure the Hawkeye victory. First, sophomore Dominic Patrick won at No. 5, 6-3, 1-6, 6-2. Then it was time for the seniors to step up and secure the match.
Senior Michael Swank took the first set at No. 6 singles, 6-3 before dropping a close second set, 6-7 (3-7). With the crowd behind him, Swank rolled to a 6-3 third set decision to put the Hawkeyes a point away from victory.
“After a win like that, the guys on the team really feel that we have something special going this year,” said Swank.
Estenssoro, playing next to Swank, knew his match could decide things for Iowa. He had already won the first set of his No. 5 singles match 6-4 and was tied with Ruben Weber of Minnesota in the second set when Swank won. The momentum and energy pushed Estenssoro to a 7-5 second set victory, and a Big Ten win for the Hawkeyes.
“It was great to be competing in a match like the one I had today. With a crowd like the one we had today, fighting in that second set became a lot easier,” said Estenssoro. “. I saw (Michael) Swank win his match and knew I had to clinch my match for the team.”
Senior Brian Alden was looking to make it a 5-2 team decision, but his comeback fell short, as he lost a third set tiebreaker in heartbreaking fashion, 14-12.
The Hawkeyes are idle before heading to Kalamazoo, Mich. on Saturday, Feb. 22, to face Western Michigan in a nonconference match. First serve is set to take place at 11 a.m. (CT).
Iowa 4, #39 Minnesota 3
1. #80 Leandro Toledo (Minn) def. Jonas Dierckx (Iowa): 6-3, 6-3
2. Juan Estenssoro (Iowa) def. Ruben Weber (Minn): 6-4, 7-5
3. Jack Hamburg (Minn) def. Brian Alden (Iowa): 6-3, 6-7 (4-7), 7-6 (14-12)
4. Mathiew Froment (Minn) def. Matt Hagan (Iowa): 6-2, 7-6 (9-7)
5. Dominic Patrick (Iowa) def. Franz Sydow (Minn): 6-3, 1-6, 6-2
6. Michael Swank (Iowa) def. Juan Pablo Ramirez (Minn): 6-3, 6-7 (3-7), 6-3
1. #23 Froment/Hamburg (Minn) def. Alden/Swank (Iowa): 8-4
2. Dierckx/J. Estenssoro (Iowa) def. Sydow/Toledo (Minn): 7-6 (7-4)
3. Hagan/White (Iowa) def. Frueh/Ramierez (Minn): 8-3