The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

Hawkeyes set to begin spring season

As the Hawkeye men’s tennis team gets set to start its spring season, head coach Ross Wilson has set some high goals for the squad.

Wilson says he has challenged the team to become nationally ranked in the spring, wanting them to be one of the top-60 teams in the country.

On top of a desired national ranking, Wilson has also challenged the team to place in the top-eight of a very talented Big Ten conference.

Currently, the conference has nine teams ranked in the Intercollegiate Tennis Association’s top-65.

“With the Big Ten being so talented, that gives us an opportunity to beat some ranked teams and add on to our resume,” Wilson said.

Wilson said one way of becoming more competitive is in the scheduling. The Hawkeyes are scheduled to face 16 currently ranked teams this spring.

“We needed to play a more competitive schedule. This year will be the most we’ve ever traveled,” Wilson said. “I think that will be beneficial to our players. We have to be used to a high level of competition once Big Ten season starts,”

In addition to the tough Big Ten slate the Hawkeyes will also travel to nationally ranked Utah and San Diego State, while taking on nationally ranked Drake University in Iowa City. The Hawkeyes also have scheduled stops at Cornell, Yale and BYU.

Wilson said he is looking to senior Matt Hagan and junior Dom Patrick to step up this spring. Hagan is nationally ranked at No. 116.

“Matt is our number one guy. He had a great fall and he is going to look to win a lot of matches this spring and knock off some ranked guys,” Wilson said.

Wilson says Patrick — who led the team in wins last season — is another name to watch.

Hagan and Patrick teamed up to win the Big Ten doubles title last fall and are ranked 31st in this year’s ITA doubles rankings.

On a roster of four Americans and four foreign players, Wilson said he likes the atmosphere around the team.

Stieg Martens, a freshman from Roeselare, Belgium, already has professional experience and has been professionally ranked.

“Stieg didn’t practice with us in the fall, but once he gets his feet wet I think he will help us out a lot,” Wilson said.

Andres Estenssoro, a senior from Bolivia, Nils Hallenstrand, a sophomore from Sweden, Jake Jacoby, a freshman from Little Rock, Arkansas, Josh Silverstein, a freshman from Great Neck, New York and Lefteris Theodorou, a freshman from Greece, round out the roster along with Hagan, Patrick and Martens.

Wilson is optimistic about his squad this year and said he is excited about the opportunity to get some wins against ranked opponents and boost the team’s resume.

The Hawkeyes start competition on January 25 against Western Michigan and Western Illinois at the Hawkeye Tennis and Recreation Complex in Iowa City.

“I like the mix of cultures on the team,” Wilson said. “We’re able to recruit all around the world because college is the pathway to becoming a professional tennis player.”

Follow @b_dows4 on Twitter for news, updates, and analysis about the Iowa men’s tennis team.

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