IOWA CITY, Iowa — The 50th-ranked University of Iowa men’s tennis team finished the regular season strong with victories over No. 19 Michigan (4-1) and Illinois State (6-1) Sunday at the Hawkeye Tennis & Recreation Complex (HTRC) to cap a memorable Senior Day for Jonas Larsen.
Iowa won its sixth Big Ten match, marking the most in a single-season for the Hawkeyes since 1994 (7). The Hawkeyes closed out the regular season winning four consecutive matches (IUPUI, Michigan State, Michigan, Illinois State) and tied for fifth place in the Big Ten standings, its best finish in the conference standings in 26 years.
In the first match of the day against the Wolverines, Iowa started off well capturing the doubles point for the 15th time this season. Will Davies and Oliver Okonkwo blanked Michigan’s Fenty/Schalet on court one (6-0). The HTRC erupted when the Hawkeyes clinched the doubles point on court three with Nikita Snezhkoand Joe Tylerbouncing Maloney/Tishman (6-3).
Iowa moved to singles play against the Wolverines leading, 1-0. Okonkwo extended the Hawkeyes’ advantage, cruising to a straight sets win over 64th-ranked Mattias Siimar on court two (6-4, 6-2). Tyler kept the momentum going, winning in straight sets over Gabe Tishman (6-3, 7-6) to give the Hawkeyes a 3-0 advantage. Davies put Iowa over the top in his third set comeback victory at No. 4 (4-6, 6-2, 6-4). Iowa’s win over 19th-ranked Michigan was its third over a nationally-ranked Big Ten team this season (No. 18 Minnesota, No. 30 Penn State).
Iowa posted a convincing win over Illinois State in the nightcap. On court two, Kareem Allaf and Larsen beat Bartra/Botifoll (6-2) for the tandem’s 14th victory of the season. Snezhko/Tyler picked up where they left off in the morning, registering a 6-2 triumph against Peterson/Lew for their fourth straight victory. Iowa improved to 16-2 when winning the doubles point.
In singles, Davies continued to fuel the Hawkeyes with a straight set win on court four (6-2, 6-3). Jason Kerst followed suit on court six with a resounding win over Zacharias Rasmusson (6-2, 6-1). The Hawkeyes clinched the match on court three with Okonkwo’s straight set win (6-3, 6-4). On court two, Larsen was Iowa’s fourth straight set win of the evening, notching a 7-6, 6-3 win over Poi Rius Botifoll. Allaf put an exclamation point on the final match at the HTRC this season with a third set tiebreak win over Igor Kolaric (4-6, 6-2, 10-4).
- The wins over No. 19 Michigan and Illinois State mark the 59th team victory that Larsen has been a part of over his four-year career, which ties for fifth most in program history (1986).
- Davies and Okonkwo each finished the regular season with 27 wins, equaling the third most win total in a single-season in Iowa history.
- The Hawkeyes posted a 14-2 record at home, which is to be believed to be the most home wins in a single-season in program history.
- Okonkwo’s win over 64th-ranked Mattias Siimar is his first singles victory over a nationally-ranked opponent.
- Iowa improved to 12-0 when winning its singles match on court six.
- The Hawkeyes improved to 13-1 when winning its single match on court one.
Quoting Mellecker Family Head Coach Ross Wilson
“Great effort from the guys today. They knew what was on the line and they came to play. They knew we had to win both matches today for a couple of different reasons. One, to strengthen our NCAA Tournament chances and secondly, to lock up the No. 6 seed in the Big Ten Tournament. We handled the pressure well and had great energy. I am so happy for them to be able to pick up the wins. We’re looking forward to going to the Big Ten Tournament and playing Nebraska in the first round.”
The Hawkeyes finished the regular season 17-9 overall and 6-5 in Big Ten action. Iowa, seeded sixth, will travel to Ann Arbor, Michigan, for the Big Ten Championships to play No. 11 seed Nebraska at 2 p.m. (ET) in the opening round of the tournament.
#50 Iowa 4, #19 Michigan 1
April 21, 2019 | Noon (CT) | Iowa City, Iowa |Hawkeye Tennis & Recreation Complex
1. #112 Andrew Fenty (UM) def. Kareem Allaf (UI): 1-6, 6-2, 6-3
2. Oliver Okonkwo (UI) def. #64 Mattias Siimar (UM): 6-4, 6-2
3. Jonas Larsen (UI) vs. #110 Myles Schalet (UM): 6-7(3), 6-4, 3-4, unfinished
4. Will Davies (UI) def. Patrick Maloney (UM): 4-6, 6-2, 6-4
5. Joe Tyler (UI) def. Gabe Tishman (UM): 6-3, 7-6(4)
6. Jason Kerst (UI) vs. Harrison Brown (UM): 6-4, 6-7(3), 4-3, unfinished
1. #67 Okonkwo/Davies (UI) def. Schalet/Fenty (UM): 6-0
2. Allaf/Larsen (UI) vs. M. Siimar/Brown (UM): 4-4, unfinished
3. Snezhko/Tyler (UI) def. Maloney/Tishman (UM): 6-3
#50 Iowa 16-9, 6-5
#19 Michigan 16-7, 7-4
Order of finish: Doubles (1,3); Singles (2,5,1,4)
#50 Iowa 6, Illinois State 1
April 21, 2019 | 5:30 p.m. (CT) | Iowa City, Iowa |Hawkeye Tennis & Recreation Complex
1. Kareem Allaf (UI) def. Igor Kolaric (ILST): 4-6, 6-2, 10-4
2. Jonas Larsen (UI) def. Poi Rius Botifoll (ILST): 7-6(4), 6-3
3. Oliver Okonkwo (UI) def. Jorge Quispe (ILST): 6-3, 6-4
4. Will Davies (UI) def. Diego Le Gal Perez (ILST): 6-2, 6-3
5. Aleks Lazarevic (ILST) def. Joe Tyler (UI): 7-5, 2-6, 10-6
6. Jason Kerst (UI) def. Zacharias Rasmusson (ILST): 6-2, 6-1
1. #67 Okonkwo/Davies (UI) vs. Kolaric/Sertkaya (ILST): 4-3, unfinished
2. Allaf/Larsen (UI) def. Bartra/Botifoll (ILST): 6-2
3. Snezhko/Tyler (UI) def. Peterson/Lew (ILST): 6-2
#50 Iowa 17-9 (6-5)
Illinois State 13-12 (1-4)
Order of finish: Doubles (2,3); Singles (4,6,3,2,5,1)