Iowa tennis to compete in three home matches this weekend

The Hawkeye tennis program will try to keep its victory streak from last time out going this weekend.


Emily Wangen

Iowa’s Kareem Allaf winds up to return the ball during a match against Wichita State University on Sunday, Feb. 16, 2020, at the Hawkeye Tennis and Recreation Complex. The Hawkeyes defeated the Shockers, 4-2.

Chris Werner, Sports Reporter

After the Hawkeye women’s tennis team defeated DePaul and Kansas State last weekend in Iowa City, the team is riding high into its two matches this weekend — both against in-state rivals.

The Hawkeyes will face Iowa State in Urbandale, Iowa, at 4 p.m. today and Northern Iowa at 4 p.m. Sunday at home in the Hawkeye Tennis and Recreation Center.

“I’m really excited to play Iowa State and UNI,” sophomore Sam Mannix said. “It should be fun. We haven’t play anybody super close regionally, so it’ll be fun to get some in-state competition.”

Mannix clinched the winning point for Iowa against Kansas State, the team’s first 4-3 win of the spring. The victory pushed the Hawkeyes’ record to 4-5 on the year.

Iowa State is 7-3 this season but dropped its last match on the road at Nebraska. UNI sits at 2-7, with the team’s only victories coming against Division ll Ferris State and Division lll Gustavus Adolphus.

The Hawkeyes have never lost to either team. They are 11-0 versus the Panthers and have won the first 38 matches with the Cyclones.

The Iowa men’s team is also competing this weekend.

Following a 1-1 road trip — where the team lost to Utah and then beat Denver — the Hawkeyes will host No. 50 VCU at noon Saturday beginning Big Ten play against Nebraska at noon Sunday.

This weekend will mark the first time Iowa has ever faced VCU. The Hawkeyes have beaten the Cornhuskers in their last four meetings, including twice last year.

The loss to the Utes on Feb. 21 snapped a seven-match win streak for Iowa, but the Hawkeyes got back to their winning ways against No. 35 Denver.

“Going on the road it’s always tough,” head coach Ross Wilson said. “[We had a] match point to win the doubles on Friday and lose a couple three-set matches that maybe we would win at home and that’s kind of the way it is.”

“But the guys did a great job of regrouping Sunday, came out with really good energy, we got a close doubles point, and that was really the key for us to be able to win.”

RELATED: Women’s tennis outlasts Kansas State in marathon

Iowa fell five spots in the national rankings — from 23 to 28 — after its first loss since Jan. 16.

However, the Hawkeyes still have multiple individual streaks going.

Junior Will Davies has won eight straight singles matches and Kareem Allaf has six singles victories in a row. Allaf, a redshirt senior from Dubai, has climbed to second in Iowa history in both singles wins (820) and total wins (139).

“[I’ve done a good job] staying mentally tough and doing the routines that I do,” Allaf said. “Just whatever happens during the match, believe in myself and stay mentally tough through the whole match.”

Allaf believes that his routine is paramount to his success.

“Just getting my body ready,” Allaf said. “Just making sure I get the reps in, getting good practices beforehand and make sure I’m in a good headspace before that; it’s been working. Paying attention to what I eat, how I recover, and staying in the moment.”

A win on Saturday against VCU would be Iowa’s fourth win against teams ranked in the latest top 50 list compiled by the ITA.

Facebook Comments