Editor’s Note: The following first appeared in the University of Iowa’s Hawk Talk Daily, an e-newsletter that offers a daily look at the Iowa Hawkeyes, delivered free each morning to thousands of fans of the Hawkeyes worldwide. To receive daily news from the Iowa Hawkeyes, sign up HERE.
By BAILEY TURNER
IOWA CITY, Iowa — A new chapter is around the corner for a University of Iowa men’s tennis squad that showed promise during the fall.
Iowa heads into its spring competitive season with momentum after finishing the fall with its best outing at the Big Ten Indoor Championships. Freshmen Will Davies and Piotr Smietana were doubles finalists, while in singles action, the Hawkeyes advanced a Big Ten-best five student-athletes to the Round of 16.
Depth will be a key component for the Hawkeyes this spring.
“Since I’ve been at Iowa we’ve been building our roster to get to the point where we are right now,” said Iowa head coach Ross Wilson. “We have eight players that can play and win in our lineup. Our depth and doubles will need to be our strength if we want to make it into the NCAA Tournament and accomplish our goals.”
Seniors Jake Jacoby and Josh Silverstein have been in the Hawkeye lineup since freshmen and they look to build upon past success. Jacoby owns 107 career singles and doubles wins, putting him just outside the top 10 in program history; Silverstein has 104.
Kareem Allaf is coming off the ninth-best single-season singles win total in program history as a freshman. Allaf won a team-best 23 matches last year. Other returning letterwinners include junior Jonas Larsen and sophomore Jason Kerst.
Wilson hit the recruiting trail hard last spring, signing the 16th-best recruiting class in the country. Freshmen Joe Tyler, Davies, and Smietana will be looked upon to contribute right away.
“Every year our freshmen need to come in and make an impact,” said Wilson. “This season we have three extremely talented freshmen who all showed they can win at a high level in the fall.”
Iowa has a competitive slate in 2018, facing 13 teams that competed in the NCAA Tournament and five conference champions from a year ago.
“Every year we want to play a schedule that is good enough for us to be ranked in the top 25 and qualify for the NCAA Tournament,” said Wilson. “The guys in our program come to Iowa to play against the best competition in college tennis.”
Iowa opens its season against Marquette and Western Michigan on Jan. 19 before making its second straight appearance in the ITA Kick Off Event in Athens, Georgia.
“The guys can’t wait to compete in the ITA Kick Off again after our success last year,” Wilson said. “Qualifying for the second year in a row shows the gradual progression we are making on a national stage.”