The University of Iowa women’s tennis team opens Big Ten Conference play hosting Illinois on Friday at 3 p.m. (CT) and Northwestern on Sunday at 12 p.m. (CT). Both matches take place at Hawkeye Recreation and Tennis Complex. There will be no fans allowed at home meets due to COVID-19 restrictions.
Iowa previously competed aginst Illinois in the Purdue Invite. The Hawkeyes went 3-0 in doubles and won three single matches. Iowa has not seen Northwestern this season and has not competed against the Wildcast since Feb. 22, 2019 when Northwestern came out with a 7-0 victory.
The Hawkeyes are coming into conference play with three tournaments under their belt, having previously competed against Nebraska, Wisconsin and Minnesota last weeked at the Wiscosin Invite in Madison, Wisconsin. The Hawkeyes competed against Illinois at the Purdue Invite where they also played Purdue, Michigan State. Iowa also has cometeted against ranked teams No. 3 Texas and No. 20 Arizona State at the ITA Kickoff in Austin, Texas.
NOEL STARTS CONFERENCE PLAY 6-0 IN SINGLES
Alexa Noel finished the preseason with a perfect 6-0 record. The freshman from Summit, New Jersey , is ranked No. 97 in singles picked up her sixth win over Wisconsin’s Xinyu Cai, 6-3,6-4, at the Wisconsin Invite is Madison, Wisconsin. Noel also got two more single wins during the Invite against Nebraska’s Kristina Novak, 6-4,6-1, and Minnesota’s Ekin Ercetin, 6-1,6-0. She has won all six matches in straight sets.
MANNIX AND NOEL SWEEP THROUGH PURDUE INVITE
Junior Samantha Mannix and freshman Alexa Noel paired up to go 3-0 at the top doubles position at the Purdue Invite on Jan. 29-31. The pair won all three matches in straight sets, 6-4, 6-4, 7-5. Noel also swept three matches at the top singles position at the Purdue Invite, picking up wins against Michigan State, Purdue and Illinois.
NOEL RECOGNIZED IN ITA TENNIS RANKINGS
Freshman Alexa Noel is ranked No. 97 in singles and No. 7 among the top 10 newcomers in the International Tennis Association preseason singles and newcomers rankings. Noel is 6-0 this season at the top singles spot.
Noel, a freshman from Summit, New Jersey, ended her high school career ranked No. 4 in the ITF World Tennis Tour Junior Rankings, as well capturing the 2019 USTA Girls 18s National Championships doubles title. She is the third freshman in program history to appear in the ITA national rankings. Sonja Molnar reached as high as No. 75 in 2009 and Sam Mannix was ranked No. 125 in 2019. The complete 2021 ITA preseason rankings are available at wearecollegetennis.com.
• In the last 10 matchups against Iowa with scoring, the Fighting Illini are 8-2.
• In the last Big Ten matchup, Illinois beat Iowa, 6-1, in the 2017-2018 season. Illinois was ranked No. 24 at the time. Their match in the 2019-2020 season was cancelled due to COVID-19.
• Northwestern is 4-1 this season, defeating No. 7 North Carolina State, No. 16 Wake Forest, No. 10 Oklahoma State and No. 9 Ohio State
• Northwestern’s only loss is to No. 3 Texas.
• Julie Byrne and Hannah McColgan are ranked No. 47 in doubles
• Northwestern is 18-0 in conference play against the Hawkeyes
• Northwestern beat Iowa, 6-1, in their last Big Ten matchup during the 2017-2018 season. Northwestern was ranked No. 14 at the time. The two teams did not compete last year due to COVID-19.