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

For women’s tennis, hope springs

Iowa players Anastasia Reimchen and Aimee Tarun make a play against Nebraska on Sunday March 29, 2015 inside the Indoor Tennis Complex. Iowa won the first conference of the season against Nebraska, 4-2. (The Daily Iowan/Courtney Hawkins)

The Iowa women’s tennis team exceeded some people’s expectations this fall, when the Hawkeyes fielded nearly half a roster of brand-new players.

With such a makeover, Iowa’s road looked rather hazy. Coming through every tournament with awful win-loss records was possible.

The Hawkeyes did not accept that.

Granted, the Hawkeyes started slowly, with a string of losses at the Furman Fall Classic. That tournament contained a loaded field, though, and Iowa did not lie down.

Through their next three tournaments, the Hawkeyes used different combinations of players and yielded different results. The variation seemed to be more due to competition level than anything, and head coach Katie Dougherty’s theme of “growth” played out as well as she could have hoped.

To finish the season, Iowa took every player to Kalamazoo for the Western Michigan Bronco Invitational, arguably the Hawkeyes’ most successful outing in the fall season.

Zoe Douglas and Adorabol Huckleby won their flights, although it should be noted that those were the B and C Flights. Anastasia Reimchen competed in Flight A and brought home third place. Again, not necessarily a large success, because Flight A contained only eight players, none of whom were ranked nationally.

The Bronco is the most telling competition for what to expect from the Hawkeyes in the spring. Improvement from the start of the season was evident, and several players had winning records in singles in Kalamazoo.

The doubles squads went 8-8 overall at the invitational, and that sums up where Iowa is, a middle-of-the-pack squad right now.

But that’s not shameful, because it was very possible prior to fall competition that the Hawkeyes were going to lose match after match.

Let’s not hang our hats on that, either. Mediocrity is not success, even when expectations are low.

The spring season is the one that counts, and Iowa will need to improve between now and then. Junior Natalie Looney, who transferred from South Carolina, has much room for improvement, and the Hawkeyes will need her leadership along with her success in the spring.

Junior Aimee Tarun joins Looney in needing to bring more to the table.

Senior Annette Dohanics has also proven in the past that she is capable of succeeding, but she was not entirely successful this fall. With Dohanics as the only senior, Iowa needs to see leadershipfrom her in the near future.

If the three upper classmen work things out to bring their A game by spring, Iowa has the potential to make some noise with a lot of young, raw talent behind the older players.

Reimchen, Huckleby, and Douglas proved all season long that they have what it takes to win matches. Sophomore Montana Crawford and freshman Taylor Tamblyn have shown poise and potential.

The remaining two squad members, freshmen Carin Runefelt and Kristen Thoms, did not have a large sample size this fall. Neither played exceptional tennis, but both showed that their futures may be bright.

Doubles teams were mixed and matched all season, so it is really too hard to tell how they will perform in the spring. They did often show this fall that they play well together.

Even if Iowa gets everything figured out by spring, it’s a long shot to say that any Hawkeye will make it in singles or in doubles to the NCAA postseason competition. Hopefully, the experience and improvement this fall can lead to more than expected once again this spring.

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