Hawkeye tennis continues midseason struggles

The women’s tennis team continued to struggle to find success away from Iowa City, losing to Notre Dame, 7-0, on Tuesday.


Shivansh Ahuja

Iowa's Samantha Mannix hits a serve during a women's tennis match between Iowa and Penn State at the HTRC on Sunday, February 24, 2019. The Hawkeyes fell to the Nittany Lions, 4-3.

Cody Smith, Sports Reporter

Iowa tennis has seemingly taken a turn for the worst.

Early on this season, the women’s tennis team (8-5) looked it was on its way to becoming ranked by the Intercollegiate Tennis Association after beginning the season 7-0.

However, since then, the Hawkeyes have appeared to turn their early hot streak into a cold one.

This past weekend, Iowa split its two road matches in Florida before getting roasted by Notre Dame, 7-0, on Tuesday in Lake Nona, Florida.

“Disappointing loss for us today,” Iowa head coach Sasha Schmid said in a release. “We weren’t able to step up to the challenge in our matches and couldn’t close out opportunities.

Besides its lone 5-2 win over Florida Gulf Coast on Sunday, Iowa has gone 0-5 in its last six dual matches, including just a 1-4 record away from the Hawkeye Tennis and Recreation Center.

So, the question remains: what has happened to the women’s tennis squad?

Well, the simple answer is it is struggling to secure the doubles point. To date, it’s been the Achilles heel of the team. The Hawkeyes either secure it and win the match or let it slip away and lose.

In their losses this season, the women have dropped every single doubles match besides one. They’ve lost to Northwestern, Kansas State, Furman, and Notre Dame, and they all have been on the road. Iowa’s only doubles win came in a 4-3 loss to Penn State at home on Feb. 24.

This past weekend, only Samantha Mannix/Elise van Heuvelen and Sophie Clark/Ashleigh Jacobs have managed to secure a doubles match victory against Florida Gulf Coast. Other than that, everyone else has dropped their doubles matches leading to losses to Furman and Notre Dame.

Nonetheless, Schmid understands that this year is a learning curve given the youthfulness of the team.

“It’s important for us marching forward and competing hard as we mature with each match,” Schmid said.

The next few matches will truly define the rest of the season for the Hawkeyes. Up next comes three Big Ten matches, all of which are on the road. This upcoming weekend, Iowa will head to East Lansing to face off against Michigan State on Saturday before going against Michigan in Ann Arbor on Mar. 16.

The upcoming stretch marks a pivotal point for the Hawkeyes; the trip to Michigan will be Iowa’s first Big Ten battle since losing to Penn State, 4-3, on Feb. 24.

Iowa will then continue conference play for the rest of the season until the Big Ten Tournament on April 25-28. The Hawkeyes will have to continue to fight on the road when they take on Ohio State on March 24 before returning home to face Purdue on March 29.

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