IOWA CITY, Iowa — The University of Iowa men’s tennis team beat Drake, 4-3, Friday evening in front of the largest crowd of the season at the Hawkeye Tennis & Recreation Complex. With the match even at 3-3, sophomore Joe Tyler clinched the win for the Hawkeyes on court four, 7-6(4), 7-5.
The win was the first for the Hawkeyes over the Bulldogs since 2011. Additionally, Iowa improved to 9-1 in home matches this season.
“I thought we stepped up and were very brave,” said assistant coach Joey Manilla. “Drake had beaten us seven years in a row and it was a full team effort to come out and go for the shots we had to go for. I know it meant a lot to the guys because there are a lot of Brits on both teams. I’m proud of our guys.”
Competition started with doubles where Iowa won two out of the three matches. Kareem Allaf and Jonas Larsen clinched the doubles point on court one, knocking off the No. 52 ranked team in the country, 6-4. Oliver Okonkwo and Will Davies set the tone with convincing win on court two, 6-2, to win their team-best ninth match of the season.
In singles play, Davies won his 10th match of the season, bouncing Drake’s MacGoech, 6-3, 6-4, on court five. Okonkwo followed suit shortly thereafter to give the Hawkeyes a 3-0 advantage. Okonkwo was victorious in straight sets on court three, registering his 10th win of the season, tying Davies for the team lead. Allaf, Larsen, and Smietana all lost in straight sets to tie the match at three all. Tyler was up to the challenge when he defeated Barry Thorold in a tightly-contested match, 7-6(4), 7-5.
“Joe has put in a lot of work in the last couple of weeks,” said Manilla. “For him to bounce back after losing a close match at Texas Tech, it required a lot of bravery and a lot of confidence to build into his own game in really tough moments. When it came down to it, he went for his shots and didn’t hold anything back. That was huge for us.”
The Hawkeyes will travel to Nebraska for their Big Ten opener at the Dillon Tennis Center at 1 p.m. (CT) on Sunday.
Iowa 4, Drake 3
March 8, 2019 | 6 p.m. | Iowa City, Iowa | HTRC
1. Vinny Gillespie (DU) def. Kareem Allaf (UI): 6-3, 7-6 (3)
2. #78 Tom Hands (DU) def. Jonas Larsen (UI): 6-3, 6-4
3. Oliver Okonkwo (UI) def. Bayo Philips (DU): 6-4, 6-4
4. Joe Tyler (UI) def. Barny Thorold (DU): 7-6(4), 7-5
5. Will Davies (UI) def. Calum MacGeoch (DU): 6-3, 6-4
6. Finley Hall (DU) def. Piotr Smietana (UI): 6-3, 7-6(2)
1. Allaf/Larsen (UI) def. #52 Gillespie/Thorold (DU): 6-4
2. Davies/Okonkwo (UI) def. Hall/Philips (DU): 6-2
3. Hands/MacGeoch (DU) def. Snezhko/Tyler (UI): 6-2
Doubles (3,2,1); Singles (5,2,3,6,1,4)