Iowa men’s and women’s tennis lose winning streaks

The women’s team went 1-1 on the weekend, and the men’s team dropped both of its road matches.


Brianna Brown

Iowa freshman Alexa Noel swings at a ball during her singles match at the Iowa women’s tennis meet v. Ohio State on Sunday, March 7, 2021. While Noel won her match 6-2, the Hawkeyes were defeated by the Buckeyes, 2-5.

Will Fineman, Sports Reporter

In four matches this weekend, Iowa men’s and women’s tennis were only able to come out of the weekend with one win. The women’s team went 1-1 at the Hawkeye Tennis and Recreation Complex, and the men dropped both matches on the road.

The Hawkeye women’s team beat Penn State on Friday, 5-2, for its fifth straight win but lost two days later to No. 10 Ohio State, 5-2. The men lost both matches with a 7-0 defeat against No. 9 Illinois and a 6-1 loss to No. 29 Northwestern.

Freshman Alexa Noel and senior Elise van Heuvelen Treadwell were the only players to come out of the weekend with two singles wins and the Summit, New Jersey, native remains undefeated with 14 wins.

“I just go out there and play my own game,” van Heuvelen Treadwell said. “I just stuck to the game plan, stayed confident throughout the match, and got the job done.”

Noel is now 2-0 against ranked opponents after her 6-2 win against No. 78 Irina Cantos Siemers.

The women’s tennis team has struggled with depth this season with Noel and van Heuvelen Treadwell providing the only signs of consistency. Iowa is 4-4 at No. 6, 2-5 at No. 5, and have not won a single match this season at No. 4.

This weekend was the same story, as junior Samantha Gillas lost both matches at the No. 4 spot, freshman Vipasha Mehra went winless at No. 5 and No. 6, and junior Michelle Bacalla went 1-1 at the bottom two spots.

“We just need to be able to dig in in more singles matches at all positions,” Iowa head women’s tennis coach Sasha Schmid said. “Especially in situations where we’re not dominating or we don’t have the lead. The ability to turn some matches is going to be a defining characteristic.”

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The Hawkeyes are undefeated this season when they win the doubles point and have only one win when they lose it.

The No. 2 pair of Gillas and van Heuvelen Treadwell won both matches this weekend and the Danielle Bauers/Mehra pair sealed the point for the Hawkeyes on Friday. The Hawks came up short in doubles on Sunday though, as Bauers and Mehra lost, 6-4, and Noel/Samantha Mannix were shut out.

“I think the doubles point is incredibly crucial,” Schmid said. “So that is something that we have to continue to keep working on. To play a top team and feel like you can be competitive and get a doubles point is huge.”

Like the women’s team, the Iowa men’s tennis team came into the weekend hungry to get its first win against a ranked opponent.

Even with crucial wins from No. 17 Will Davies/Oliver Okonkwo on Friday and Saturday, Iowa lost the doubles point in both matches as Kareem Allaf/Nikita Snezhko and Joe Tyler/Peter Alam couldn’t follow up the stellar play of their teammates.

Singles was not any better for the Hawkeyes, as they were completely shut out on all singles courts against Illinois on Friday.

No. 39 Kareem Allaf lost his undefeated season with a 6-3, 6-4 loss to No. 35 Aleks Kovacevic.

Juniors Joe Tyler and Will Davies and sophomore Oliver Okonkwo all took their first conference losses.

Sunday was no better for the men against the Wildcats. After losing the doubles point, Will Davies was the only Iowa player to sneak out a win in singles, with the rest of the Hawkeyes dropping their matches.

The women’s team is now 6-2 in Big Ten play and the men’s team moved to 3-2 in conference play after the losses.