Iowa men’s and women’s tennis come out on top at home

The men defeated Nebraska, 5-1, and the women beat Purdue, 6-1.

Iowa%E2%80%99s+Elise+van+Heuvelen+Treadwell+runs+to+hit+the+ball+over+the+net+during+the+Iowa+Women%E2%80%99s+Tennis+match+against+Purdue+on+Feb.+28%2C+2021+at+the+Hawkeye+Tennis+and+Recreation+Complex.+Iowa+defeated+Purdue+6-1.

Casey Stone

Iowa’s Elise van Heuvelen Treadwell runs to hit the ball over the net during the Iowa Women’s Tennis match against Purdue on Feb. 28, 2021 at the Hawkeye Tennis and Recreation Complex. Iowa defeated Purdue 6-1.

Will Fineman, Sports Reporter


Sunday was a great day for Iowa tennis fans, as the men’s and women’s teams continued their hot starts to conference play.

The men’s team took down Nebraska, 5-1, and the women’s team blew past Purdue, 6-1.

Kareem Allaf sealed the deal for the Hawkeye men with all eyes in the Hawkeye Tennis and Recreation Complex on him. The 6-foot senior put on a show in the third set on the way to his 6-4, 3-6, 6-1, win after stumbling in the second.

“That’s something I don’t really get to experience because some of my matches finish very quickly,” Allaf said. “I love people being around while I play, and I enjoy the adrenaline rush of my teammates being out there too.”

Joe Tyler has been on a roll since the start of conference play, and he grabbed his third win of the year, 6-3, 6-1. After underperforming last season, the Corby, England, native has won all three of his conference matches in straight sets to start the Big Ten schedule.

“Practice, with everything going on, is so hit or miss,” Tyler said. “It’s just about getting a solid couple of months under my belt, working hard, and listening to coaches.”

Oliver Okonkwo (6-4, 6-3) and Will Davies (6-2, 4-6, 6-4) also added wins.

Doubles have been key for the men’s and women’s teams this season. Both had won the doubles point in their last two matches and continued that streak on Sunday.

Elise van Heuvelen Treadwell and Samantha Gillas won their match, 6-1, and Vipasha Mehra/Danielle Bauers won by the same margin for the women. The doubles pairs of Allaf/Nikita Snezhko and No. 17 Okonkwo/Davies took the doubles point for the men.

“[Okonkwo and Davies] have been playing very well since last fall,” Iowa head men’s tennis coach Ross Wilson said. “With Oliver’s power and Will’s maturity, doubles knowledge, and volleys that’s a really good combination.”

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On the women’s side, Michelle Bacalla grabbed her first conference win of the season in singles with a, 4-6, 7-5, 10-6, win over Nathalia Wolf Gasparin, and van Heuvelen Treadwell made history tying Hillary Mintz for sixth in program history in singles wins.

“It’s an incredible accomplishment,” Iowa head women’s tennis coach Sasha Schmid said. “And I am super proud of [Elise]. That is not an easy record — especially when someone plays at the top part of the lineup it’s even more impressive.”

The win was huge for Bacalla, as she has struggled to start the year after being a bright spot for the team during the shortened season last spring.

“I think she was at a moment where you start to play the opponent plus your lack of confidence, and you have two opponents out there that you’re battling against,” Schmid said. “To be able just to get through that today I think really is huge for her.”

No. 97 Alexa Noel remains undefeated with 12 wins, as she came out on top after a tough battle against Ena Babic, 7-5, 7-5.

“I just recognized that when things started going bad, I just lost focus,” Noel said. “Mentally I just knew that I wasn’t going to get away with that, so I just tried to pull it back together.”

Noel’s doubles partner, Samantha Mannix, won her singles match, 6-4, 7-5, and Gillas extended her singles winning streak to four after her 6-0, 6-1, victory.

With the win against Purdue, the Iowa women are off to the best start in conference play since 2006.

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