By KEVIN QUINN
IOWA CITY, Iowa — The University of Iowa women’s tennis team has a new lead saleswoman in head coach Sasha Schmid, and the Hawkeyes are buying every bit of her new system. Two weeks into the Schmid era, Iowa is off to a quick start with a 2-0 record to begin the 2017 season.
“There has been a tremendous buy-in from the players,” said Schmid. “I really think they are listening. We are asking for a lot of focus, intensity, efficiency, and concentrating on not giving away any free points.”
Schmid’s new product puts a strong emphasis on mental stamina and efficient tennis. The backbone of this new system is the practice grounds where the Hawkeyes are putting in the time and effort to improve every day.
“We’re just trying to grow our mental stamina,” said Schmid. “I think the team’s tennis has really improved and now we just need to go out and find our rhythm and competiveness in matches They just need to keep pushing themselves, and it all comes back to practice.”
“We need to be professional day-in and day-out,” said freshman Elise van Heuvelen. “We need to continue to train well, compete, and get the job done by being efficient and having a good attitude throughout the week.”
The Hawkeyes started the 2017 spring season with a 5-2 road victory over Central Florida, in Orlando, Florida. They returned home a week later and blanked Creighton, 7-0, at the Hawkeye Tennis and Recreation Complex.
“We’ve had two tough matches,” said junior Anastasia Reimchen. “We learn more from each one and we get better. We need to continue to believe in our training.”
In each of the Hawkeyes’ first two matches van Heuvelen has won the No. 1 singles match. She was a three-set winner in her Hawkeye debut at UCF and dominated her second match against Creighton, winning in straight sets, 6-0, 6-1.
“The energy and intensity has definitely increased throughout the matches,” said van Heuvelen. “That really helps you as an individual and also helps every other court. If you know someone on your team is winning it just helps the momentum on all of the other courts”
Senior Aimee Tarun has also won her first two matches of the 2017 season. She is yet to drop a set and has lost only one game. Tarun has blanked her opponents in her last three sets.
“That’s really hard to do. It takes a lot of focus,” said Schmid. “It’s easy to lose games even if you win matches. Aimee has been dedicated to staying focused on every single point. I really admire the example that she is setting for this team, especially as a senior.”
The Hawkeyes are back in action Saturday hosting Northern Illinois at noon (CT) at the Hawkeye Tennis and Recreation Complex.
“We have to get back to hard work this week and get ready for a good Northern Illinois team,” said Schmid. “We need to keep getting better every day and stay hungry, never be satisfied, and look for daily improvement.”