IOWA CITY, Iowa — The 48th-ranked University of Iowa men’s tennis team beat No. 30 Penn State in comeback fashion, 4-3, on Friday at the Hawkeye Tennis & Recreation Complex.
The win is Iowa’s second over a Big Ten ranked opponent this season; the Hawkeyes bounced No. 18 Minnesota last month in Minneapolis. Iowa improved to 6-0 this season in matches decided by the score, 4-3.
The Hawkeyes recorded wins on courts one and two to capture the doubles point for the 11th time this year. Will Davies and Oliver Okonkwo, ranked 74th nationally, cruised to a 6-2 win over the eighth-ranked doubles team in the country on court one. The win is the highest ranked doubles victory under Mellecker Family Head Men’s Tennis Coach Ross Wilson. On court two, Kareem Allaf and Jonas Larsen battled back and forth with their opponents before winning the final two points.
The Nittany Lions won the first three completed matches on courts two, five, and six to grab a 3-1 advantage. Okonkwo put the Hawkeyes on the board with a straight sets win on court three to cut the deficit to 3-2.
“It felt good to play good tennis,” said Okonkwo. “My team needs more of that out of me the rest of the way.”
Allaf came through in the clutch for the Hawkeyes winning in the third set over the 31st-ranked player in country. Allaf won, 6-3, 2-6, 6-4, to register his fourth win over a ranked opponent in his career. With the match on the line, Davies delivered again in front of an energized crowd. The sophomore from England won in three sets, 7-5, 2-6, 7-5, to post his team-best 15th win this spring.
The Hawkeyes improved to 13-6 overall and 4-2 in Big Ten action. Iowa will host top-ranked Ohio State on Sunday at 11 a.m. (CT) at the HTRC.
- Iowa improved to 11-1 in home matches this season.
- Oliver Okonkwo moved into a tie for sixth for most doubles wins in a season (21).
- Jonas Larsen stands alone in 10th place for most doubles wins in a career at Iowa.
- Iowa improved to 7-1 in Friday matches this spring.
Quoting Mellecker Family Head Coach Ross Wilson
“It was huge for our guys to come out and knock off another top program. We put in the work every day and it is really paying off. Not only did we take down the No. 30 team in the nation, but we also beat the No. 8 doubles team in the country and the No. 31 singles player. For Will to come back, down 0-3 in the third set, to clinch the match was unreal. But the guys are not done yet. This is our standard and we have further to go.”
#48 Iowa 4, #30 Penn State 3
April 5, 2019 | 6 p.m. (CT) | Iowa City, Iowa |HTRC
1. Kareem Allaf (UI) def. #31 Constant De La Basse (PSU): 6-3, 2-6, 6-4
2. #95 Christian Lakoseljac (PSU) def. Jonas Larsen (UI): 6-1, 6-2
3. Oliver Okonkwo (UI) def. Gabriel Nemeth (PSU): 6-3, 6-2
4. Will Davies (UI) def. Christos Antonopoulo (PSU): 7-5, 2-6, 7-5
5. Ben Lieb (PSU) def. Joe Tyler (UI): 6-1, 6-0
6. Chris Kuhnle (PSU) def. Morgan Lohan (UI): 6-0, 6-1
1. #74 Okonkwo/Davies (UI) def. #8 De La Basse/Nemeth (PSU): 6-2
2. Larsen/Allaf (UI) def. Lieb/Galush (PSU): 7-5
3. Lakoseljac/Antonopoulo (PSU) def. Snezhko/Tyler (UI): 6-1
#48 Iowa 13-6 (4-2 Big Ten)
#30 Penn State 14-6 (4-2 Big Ten)
Order of finish: Doubles (3,1,2); Singles (5,2,6,3,1,4)