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 show depth at the Big Tens

The Hawkeyes shone up and down the board in the men’s tennis team’s final fall performance in Michigan.
Ben Smith
Iowa’s Kareem Allaf returns the ball during the match against Penn State at Klotz Outdoor Tennis Courts on Sunday, Apr. 2, 2017. The Nittany Lions defeated the Hawkeyes 4-3. (The Daily Iowan/Ben Smith)

Monday concluded the men’s Big Ten Indoor Singles and Doubles Tournament and with it, the men’s fall tennis season. The tournament, hosted by Michigan State, crowned the fall season’s Big Ten singles and doubles champions.

Because of NCAA regulations on a fall-tournament cap, Iowa could not send senior and No. 66 nationally ranked Josh Silverstein. Despite the setback, the Hawkeyes dazzled in their final fall outing, following a season of shaky performances and early losses.

Freshman duo Will Davies and Piotr Smietana tore through the doubles tournament on Oct. 27, which was no small feat for the newcomers, who faced Northwestern’s duo of Nick Brookes and Antonioni Fasano. Fasano, when paired with teammate Dominik Stary, is ranked nationally as the No. 34 doubles team. Davies and Smietana topped Fasano and Brooks in a close match (8-7). The Iowa pair also topped Ohio State’s Hunter Tubert and Matt Mendez (8-7). The pair finally fell to Michigan’s Davis Crocker and Harrison Brown in the championships (8-4). Davies and Smietana ended their fall season as the Big Ten’s second-best doubles team.

“Piotr and Will were able to sustain a high level of energy of play [Oct. 27] making it to the finals,” head coach Ross Wilson said in a release. “They were able to win two tough tiebreakers against Ohio State and Northwestern.”

To add to his weekend’s accomplishments, Smietana upset Northwestern’s Stary, a nationally ranked doubles player, in the singles round of 32.

Securing wins in close matches was a goal for the squad, Wilson said. This fall saw Iowa on the losing side of too many close matches; however, this past weekend turned that around for the Hawkeyes.

The success rolled into the singles section of the tournament for the Hawkeyes. On Oct. 28, Iowa won eight of its 11 matches while advancing five athletes to the Round of 16: Davies, Joe Tyler, Smietana, Kareem Allaf, and Jonas Larsen. Iowa secured the most spots of any Big Ten school in the Round of 16.

“We had a very consistent effort from our guys [Oct. 28],” Wilson said in a release. “This is definitely the best tournament collectively as a group we have had all fall.”

Prior to this tournament, inconsistency was a huge flaw in Iowa’s blemished fall season. Silverstein failed to play to his high ranking, and the group was knocked out of most tournaments early.

All of the Hawkeyes fell in the Round of 16, but, as a whole, the group played strong tennis throughout the tournament.

With Iowa’s fall campaign over, the Hawkeyes now look to an off-season excited after an impressive conference tournament.

“A lot of us are pretty pumped for this season,” Allaf said. “This is the best team we’ve had probably in history. We have a lot of potential on this team. The freshmen show a lot of potential, and they compete hard. They’re talented. They have potential to be very good players this year and the upcoming years.”

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About the Contributor
James Geerdes, Design Editor
Email: [email protected] James is a junior studying business analytics and journalism. He is currently the design editor and is interested in interactive graphics and UX design. Since joining his freshman year, he has been a sports reporter, designer, and digital producer for The Daily Iowan.