Men’s tennis dominates Big Ten Indoor Championships

Last weekend, three Hawkeyes competed in Lincoln, Nebraska, for the Big Ten Indoor Championships. Iowa posted a 9-6 overall tournament record.


Shivansh Ahuja

Iowa's Joe Tyler hits a backhand during a men's tennis match between Iowa and Michigan State at the Hawkeye Tennis Recreation Complex on Friday, April 19, 2019. The Hawkeyes defeated the Spartans, 5-2. (Shivansh Ahuja/The Daily Iowan)

Austin Hanson, Sports Reporter

The Big Ten Conference is renowned for the high level of competition it boasts across all its sports. Men’s tennis is no exception to this notion.

Last weekend, the Big Ten held its men’s Indoor Tennis Championships. The University of Nebraska hosted the event in Lincoln, Nebraska.

Three Hawkeyes competed in the Indoor Championships this weekend: Morgan Lohan, Joe Tyler, and Oliver Okonkwo. The Hawkeyes were a combined 6-5 in singles matches in Lincoln.

Tyler highlighted singles play for Iowa. After losing his first match of the tournament on Friday, Tyler went 2-0 on Nov. 2 and 2-0 on Sunday. Wisconsin’s Daniel Nuzhny, Michigan State’s John Carlin, and Northwestern’s Patrick Cacciatore and Chester Wickwire all fell to Tyler.

Tyler finished the tournament at 4-1 in singles action. His impressive weekend performance earned him the Big Ten Indoor Consolation Championship title.

“Good weekend for Joe,” head coach Ross Wilson said in a release. “He’s starting to build confidence and will be a big piece of our success in the spring.”

Morgan Lohan had a solid singles appearance as well. Lohan posted a 2-2 record after losing his first tournament match on Friday. Lohan defeated Northwestern’s Nathan Spear and Russell Berdusco.

Iowa’s other single, Oliver Okonkwo, struggled all weekend. Okonkwo muddled his way to an 0-3 singles record.

Iowa found great success in doubles play in Nebraska. The tandem of Joe Tyler and Oliver Okonkwo was dominant. Okonkwo and Tyler quickly extinguished their opponents in the tournament’s round of 16, quarterfinals, and semifinals.

Tyler and Okonkwo finished the tournament as runners-up. The tandem lost to Ohio State’s duo, Andrew Lutschaunig and James Trotter. The championship match was certainly hard fought, as Trotter and Lutschaunig won 8-7 and 6-4.

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“Good effort out of Joe and Oliver to get to the finals,” Wilson said in a release. “I know they will be disappointed they couldn’t win the match being up a break late in the set, but it was a good result.”

Yet another positive outing has cemented Iowa’s spot in the Big Ten’s upper echelon. While the entirety of Iowa’s team did not compete, the showing the Hawkeyes put on was still impressive. Overall, the Hawkeyes went 9-6 across 15 total matches.

With the conclusion of the Big Ten Indoor Championships, the fall session is coming to a close for Hawkeye men’s tennis. Iowa has two tournaments left on its fall schedule. Next week, Iowa will compete in the ITA Oracle National Fall Championships and the Navy and Gold Invitational.

With two events in one week, Iowa will obviously have a split squad yet again. Thus, the Hawkeyes will not compete as a full team until the spring.

Multiple Hawkeyes qualified for Fall Nationals in Newport Beach, California. Kareem Allaf qualified as an individual. Doubles dyads Will Davies and Oliver Okonkwo, and Matt Clegg and Nikita Snezhko also found a spot in Newport Beach.

The ITA Oracle National Fall Championships will begin this Wednesday,  The tournament runs through Nov. 10.

The Navy and Gold Invitational will be held in Annapolis, Maryland. Tournament play will start on Friday and end on Nov. 10.

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