The University of Iowa men’s tennis team (8-4, 0-1) travels to Lincoln, Nebraska for a match-up against the Nebraska Cornhuskers (2-7) on Friday at 4 p.m. (CT).
Redshirt freshman Kareem Allaf began the season on a three match win streak – including a victory over then No. 104 Connor Curry of Texas Tech. Heading into Big Ten play on Sunday, Allaf had accumulated an 8-3 record with seven of those matches played at the three spot. By comparison, Hawkeye standout Tyler Cleveland finished his freshman campaign with just six wins in nonconference play.
“To step in here as a redshirt freshman and win so many close matches at No. 3 says a lot about the type of player Kareem is,” said UI head coach Ross Wilson.
“Looking at all of the matches he’s won, period, shows how good he is.”
In 1991, then-senior Paul Buckingham set the program record for most wins at No. 3 with 18. His nonconference record that year was 11-4. Currently, Allaf is on pace to claim the top spot for himself.
“Going into every match you just have to compete and fight,” said Allaf.
“When I was like 3-4 matches in I just got mentally better, started focusing more and competing harder and I think it’s payed off ever since.”
- Nebraska will open Big Ten play against the Hawkeyes on Friday.
- The Hawkeyes and the Huskers are tied at nine wins a piece in program match-ups.
- Since joining the Big Ten, Nebraska has defeated Iowa in four of five meetings.
- In 2015, The Hawkeyes traveled to Lincoln for a 4-2 victory.
- Iowa’s entire junor squad of Jake Jacoby, Josh Silverstein, and Lefteris Theodorou won their matches back in 2015.
“We for sure talked about last year where we lost a close one here,” said Jacoby.
“We don’t make a whole match about revenge but that loss is certainly in the back of our heads. It left a bad taste in our mouths. It’s a rivalry so we want to be ready.
“They’ve got some new guys – really a whole new team. They’ll have a lot of energy and they’ll be feeling more confident now because they’ve had two wins in a row so we’ll have to be ready on every court for a good match. “
COACH WILSON ON NEBRASKA
“Every Big Ten match is important for us. We’ve had some close matches with them the last three years. They’re going to be ready. They’re playing at home in their first Big Ten match so it’s going to be tough and I think everybody on our team is ready to get back out there after the Wisconsin match. That left a bad taste in our mouth and hopefully we can get out and do things better on Friday night.”
FOLLOW THE HAWKEYES
Fans can follow the Hawkeyes all season long and receive live match updates on Facebook (facebook.com/IowaMensTennis) or on Twitter (@IowaMensTennis). Fans can also get a behind the scene look on Instagram (iowamenstennis).