By BAILEY TURNER
IOWA CITY, Iowa — The return of familiar faces is always comforting when a new season begins. Kareem Allaf, Jason Kerst, and Jonas Larsen are returning to the Iowa lineup with a lot to prove this season with the talented recruiting class chipping at their heels.
Kareem Allaf, a redshirt sophomore from Dubai, UAE, has made great strides since he’s been on campus this summer. He boasted a team-best 23 wins throughout the fall and spring of last season.
“Last year I played pretty well but I am not where I want to be yet. I feel like I have a lot of room to grow and get better, because I want to be ranked this year and get this team to the NCAA Tournament,” said Allaf.
Allaf will compete at the Milwaukee Classic, ITA Central Regional, and the Big Ten Indoor Championships this fall.
Jonas Larsen, a junior from Koege, Denmark, has a lot of momentum rolling into this season. In the spring of 2017, he won a Hawkeye-best 15 matches in dual competition. Ten of his 15 victories came at No. 5, but Larsen looks to move up in the lineup with good play in the fall.
“I am so ready for this season to start so I can take the next step with my development,” said Larsen. “I feel confident going into our Black and Gold Challenge because our practices have been really good. This team is different and I believe it’s a really good thing for our goals this year.”
Larsen will compete at the Notre Dame Invitational, ITA Central Regional, and the Big Ten Indoor Championships where he and Allaf reached the doubles semifinals a year ago.
Jason Kerst, the Ann Arbor native, is eager to begin his second season in the Black and Gold. Last year, Kerst was as consistent as you could get with a 15-15 record but he knows that won’t get the job done this year if the Hawkeyes are serious about making school history.
“Josh Silverstein and Jake Jacoby were really great last season bringing me along while I was the only true freshmen on the team,” Kerst said. “The freshmen this year will have great role models on and off the court and that should help us have the most successful season possible.”
With Iowa’s fall season right around the corner fans should be excited for this team’s outlook. The Hawkeyes possess grit, and the attitude to have a magical year and it all begins in Milwaukee on Sept. 20.