By BAILEY TURNER
IOWA CITY, Iowa — A new wave of talented freshmen and experienced seniors create an optimistic outlook for the fall and spring season for the Iowa men’s tennis team.
Josh Silverstein, a senior from Great Neck, New York, has had a tremendous summer. Silverstein won two wildcard tournaments, earning him two main draws for the USTA Future in Texas later in October.
“I’ve played a lot of tough competitors this summer and even though I didn’t come out on top a lot, I won my fair share. Some of those guys were really good and I feel good about how I played,” Silverstein said.
One of the unsung heroes of the resurging Hawkeye tennis team is Jake Jacoby. The Arkansawyer boasted a record of 17-12 in doubles last season proving to be an anchor for the 2016-17 Hawkeyes. Jacoby played in the Wichita Futures this summer and had success beating players with world rankings.
“I truly believe the summer is when you grow,” said Jacoby. “It’s one thing to be motivated when you’re at practice and at school with coach but it’s another when you’re kind of alone. This summer was really good to me I feel like I made huge jumps. I’m super pumped for this season.”
The Hawkeyes ended last season with hopes of taking the next step. Iowa’s coaching staff secured the 16th-rated recruiting class so there’s good reason for hype surrounding the team.
Jacoby and Silverstein are ready to put the Hawkeyes on the map. Matt Hagan, who enters his second season as assistant coach, believes his leaders are ready to take the next step.
“Both guys have been in our lineup for the last four years and their is no reason why they can’t lead this team. It’s rare to see guys wait their turn so patiently, but I believe they are ready for sure,” said Hagan. “Jake and Josh are exactly who you would want to lead any team, they always come to practice with great intensity and pride. They are great guys with goals. It will have a positive effect on our team.”
The senior class realizes this is their last chance to make Iowa tennis history.
“I love this program and university. I owe it to Iowa to make this season memorable. My main goal is to get this team to the NCAA Tournament and make some noise. We’ve been borderline for the past couple of years but it’s time to take the big step (NCAA Tournament). We have the talent to get this done, we just need to win,” Silverstein said.
A sense of urgency is good. It means the potential to do big things nationally is finally here at Iowa. The Hawkeyes begin fall competition on Sept. 20, with hopes of taking that first big step in Milwaukee.
By BAILEY TURNER