April 20, 2014
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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — The University of Iowa men’s tennis team concluded its regular season Sunday, as the Hawkeyes took on the No. 22 Penn State Nittany Lions (21-4, 8-3). Senior Jonas Dierckx claimed a milestone victory at No. 1 singles, but Iowa fell by a final score of 6-1.
Dierckx’s win for Iowa (9-14, 1-10) came at No. 1 singles, where he was facing off against the 33rd-ranked player in the country, Leonard Stakhovsky. Dierckx was able to secure a couple of breaks en route to a first set victory, 6-3.
“I think that starting of by playing well right away really helped me,” said Dierckx. “I had my game plan ready, and Matt (Hagan) and I played well in doubles, so I had that momentum going for me,” added Dierckx.
In the second set, things were neck and neck until Dierckx was able to break Stakhovsky once. The one break was all that Dierckx needed, as he secured the upset victory with a 6-4 win in the second set.
“I set up the points really well which allowed me to win the important points and keep my level of play constant throughout the match,” added Dierckx.
The win marks the highest-ranked opponent that Dierckx has defeated in his Hawkeye career, and the second ranked foe that Dierckx has beaten in the past three matches, as he defeated No. 54 Raleigh Smith of Northwestern on April 13.
“This was a really good win for him,” said UI assistant head coach Ross Wilson. “This is the second nationally ranked player in the past three matches that Jonas has defeated, and both of these wins have come against the top player from two of the top four teams in the Big Ten. He has shown huge improvement this season and is really peaking as we head into the Big Ten Tournament.”
Dierckx, who paired up with teammate junior Matt Hagan, had a chance to claim two victories on the afternoon. The duo was leading 5-4 at No. 2 doubles earlier in the day before their match was suspended after Penn State had claimed the doubles point.
Hagan threatened to take a match of his own in singles, as he battled Matt Barry of Penn State at the No. 4 position. After dropping the first set, Hagan came back to take set two, 6-4. The two were knotted at 5-5 in the third set before Barry claimed the final two games to close out the match.
The Hawkeyes will return home for two days before making their way to East Lansing, Mich., for the 2014 Big Ten Tournament. Iowa will enter the tournament as the No. 12 seed, and will find out its opponent following the completion of conference play Sunday afternoon.
#22 Penn State 6, Iowa 1
1. #36 Bader/Stakhovsky (PSU) def. Alden/Swank (UI): 8-3
2. Reilly/Young (PSU) vs. Diercx/Hagan (UI): 4-5, unfinished
3. Barry/Trkulja (PSU) def. Tomlins/White (UI): 8-7 (7-3)
1. Jonas Dierckx (UI) def. No. 33 Leonard Stakhovsky (PSU): 6-3, 6-4
2. Russell Bader (PSU) def. Brian Alden (UI): 6-4, 6-1
3. Alex Fennell (PSU) def. Juan Estenssoro (UI): 6-3, 6-1
4. Matt Barry (PSU) def. Matt Hagan (UI): 6-1, 4-6, 7-5
5. Roman Trkukja (PSU) def. Dominic Patrick (UI): 6-2, 6-3
6. Nika Dolidze (PSU) def. Michael Swank (UI): 6-3, 6-3
Order of Finish: Doubles (1,3); Singles (2,5,1,6,3,4)