Davies elevates Hawkeyes to undefeated weekend

Hawkeye Tennis put together a solid showing this weekend. The men’s team won two matches at home while the women secured a road victory.


Shivansh Ahuja

Iowa’s Will Davies hits a forehand during a men’s tennis match between Iowa and VCU on Saturday, Feb. 29, 2020.

Chris Werner, Sports Reporter

Hawkeye men’s tennis is loaded with nationally-ranked talent this season.

Comprised of Will Davies and Oliver Okonkwo, Iowa houses the No. 12 doubles team in the nation. In addition, Iowa also has the 51st-ranked individual in the nation in senior Kareem Allaf.

On Sunday, the Hawkeyes faced No. 16 Cornell at the Hawkeye Tennis and Recreation Center. Allaf, Okonkwo, and Davies lost their matches. At that moment, Iowa could’ve tipped their collective cap to the Big Red. Instead, they tipped the scales.

The Hawkeyes stole the doubles point from the Big Red with wins on the second and third courts from pairs Allaf and Nikita Snezhko, as well as Joe Tyler and Matt Clegg.

Each of the three doubles matches went past the normal threshold as Davies and Okonkwo lost 7-5, but Allaf and Snezhko and Clegg and Tyler each won in tiebreaking fashion 7-6.

“[Winning doubles matches] gives the guys a ton of confidence,” head coach Ross Wilson said. “The guys are just able to go out there, and they can play free and just really try to execute what we work on in practice and try to play their best tennis that day. We can do it on all three courts because guys trust each other. They believe in each other, and it’s been proven on court that we can win all the spots.”

Davies was the hero for the Hawkeyes in the singles portion of Iowa’s match with Cornell.

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Tied at 3 points apiece, the overall contest between Iowa and Cornell came down one match, pitting Davies against Lev Kazakov on court four.

After Davies lost the first set in a tiebreaker, he rallied to win the final two sets by margins of 6-4 and 6-2.

“Even though I lost that first set, I took a lot of confidence knowing that I was there or thereabouts,” Davies said. “I knew if I could replicate that in the next set, then I would definitely have a good chance of winning the match.”Davies’ victory was set up by three-set wins on courts 2 and 6 from Okonkwo and Snezkho. Both athletes rallied to win after losing their first set.

The win against Cornell wasn’t the only triumph for the program over the weekend. The men’s team beat Louisville on Friday night at the Hawkeye Tennis and Recreation Center, 4-1.

Meanwhile, the women opened up their Big Ten slate with a 4-3 victory over Michigan State in East Lansing on Sunday.

The Hawkeyes won two doubles matches with the third going unfinished. They then claimed three of six singles matches.

“Good start to the Big Ten season for us,” head coach Sasha Schmid said in a release. “We started strong in doubles and carried the momentum over to singles. It got a little close towards the end, but the girls did a great job closing out matches. We’ve been in many of these close matches and we are improving with each one of them. Now we’re looking forward to another challenge at Indiana and Purdue next week.”

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