Iowa women’s tennis off to hot start in conference play

With their wins over Minnesota and Wisconsin last weekend, the Hawkeyes are now 3-1 in conference play.


Katie Goodale/The Daily Iowan

Iowa’s Elise van Heuvelen Treadwell hits the ball during the Iowa women’s tennis meet v. Northwestern in the Hawkeye Tennis and Recreation Complex on Sunday, Feb. 14, 2020. Northwestern defeated Iowa with a score of 6-1.

Will Fineman, Sports Reporter

The Hawkeye women’s tennis team is off to a blazing hot start in conference play this season, as it beat Minnesota and Wisconsin over the weekend.

No. 97 Alexa Noel is now 10-0 in singles and 9-3 in doubles with junior Samantha Mannix.

The Elise van Heuvelen Treadwell-Samantha Gillas doubles pair that proved to be the difference-maker for the Hawkeyes on Sunday, as they sealed the doubles point and preserved a 7-5 Iowa victory over Minnesota.

“It was great to get the doubles point today, but we still had a dog fight in singles,” Hawkeye head coach Sasha Schmid said in a Sunday release.

Prior to Sunday, Iowa had struggled with depth, as all of its singles wins had come from the top three spots in its lineup.

Iowa’s fifth and sixth spots, however, excelled when its top brass struggled against the Golden Gophers.

Freshman Vipasha Mehra notched her first conference win of her college career against Minnesota’s Juliet Zhang in a three-set thriller, 7-5, 3-6, 6-1.

After getting her first conference singles win of the season on Friday against Wisconsin, 6-1, 6-3, Gillas came through again on Sunday with a 7-5, 4-6, 7-5, win to secure the Iowa victory.

“I am happy for the way we responded in some moments,” Schmid said. “We still have room to improve, but being 2-0 after a tough Big Ten road weekend is something we can feel good about and gain some confidence. We are looking forward to coming home and having a homestand for the next two weeks.”

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Iowa beat Wisconsin in a nail-biter on Friday to get its first road win of the season.

The Hawkeyes dropped the doubles point early with all three of the Hawkeye pairs coming up short.

“We knew we put ourselves in the hole and had to battle back in singles, but I am proud of our effort,” Schmid said in a Friday release. “It is going to happen throughout the season, and we must be resilient as a team.

Van Heuvelen Treadwell was torched in the first set of her singles match Friday, but she managed to dig deep and win a hard-fought second set before coasting to victory, 1-6, 7-5, 6-2.

Van Heuvelen Treadwell has now won 19 of her last 22 matches — a streak that dates back to last year.

“Today was the day we had to dig deep,” Schmid said. “I give a lot of credit to the girls going out there and battling. Elise had a great comeback.”

After a hot start last season saw Michelle Bacalla boast a .667 win percentage before the season was canceled because of COVID-19, the 5-foot-4 junior has struggled so far this year.

With a 2-5 preseason record, her singles losses against Wisconsin and Minnesota put her at 0-3 in conference play.

While Bacalla has struggled, the team as a whole has not, as they are now 3-1 in conference play.

The Hawkeyes will look to continue their hot streak when they return to the Hawkeye Tennis and Recreation Complex to face Indiana and Purdue next weekend.