Iowa tennis hopes to bounce back

The men’s team beat Michigan in 2019 and is hoping to repeat that upset this weekend.


Shivansh Ahuja

Iowa head coach Ross Wilson watches his team play during a men’s tennis match between Iowa and Nebraska-Omaha at the HTRC on Saturday, Jan. 25, 2020. The Hawkeyes defeated the Mavericks, 6-1.

Will Fineman, Sports Reporter

After two straight tough weekends, the Iowa tennis teams will look to get themselves moving in the right direction again.

The last time Michigan men’s tennis rolled into Iowa City was in April 2019, and the Wolverines were on a three-match win streak and ranked No. 19 in the country.

The Hawkeyes weren’t phased.

They beat the Wolverines, 4-1, with the Hawkeyes downing two ranked opponents in singles.

This time Michigan is ranked No. 6 in the Intercollegiate Tennis Association top 50. Iowa checks in at 48, ten spots lower than last week after their loss to Minnesota.

“We beat Michigan when they were around the same ranking the last time they came here,” Iowa head men’s tennis coach Ross Wilson said. “Every guy on this team was a part of that win, so Michigan is a good program that has been a lot of good teams and has a lot of good players, but our guys certainly aren’t going to be phased by that.”

Both of Iowa’s tennis teams are still looking for their first wins against a ranked opponent, which will be crucial for making the NCAA Tournament.

Michigan has three ranked singles players: No. 14 Andrew Fenty, No. 28 Ondrej Styler, and No. 83 Connor Johnston.

Fenty had his five-match winning streak snapped last weekend against Ohio State, and will have to face No. 39 Kareem Allaf from Iowa.

Allaf is three wins away from passing Tyler Cleveland for the program record in combined singles and doubles wins, a feat he could accomplish this weekend.

“I have thought about it,” Allaf said. “It’s not really the big picture. The big picture is just to go out and get wins for the team.”

Michigan State will come to Iowa City to compete against the men’s team on Saturday.

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The Spartans have lost six of their last seven matches, and the Hawkeyes are 35-32 against them in the all-time series.

After two straight 4-3 losses, the Hawkeye women’s tennis team looks to string together multiple wins in a row for the first time since last month.

Iowa and Wisconsin are tied for 49th in the ITA top 50, which is the Hawkeyes highest ranking since 2017.

“We have more challenging Big Ten matches ahead at a critical moment in the season,” Iowa head women’s tennis coach Sasha Schmid said in a release. “We have a great group and I know they are going to want to respond in the best way possible from the disappointments over the weekend.”

Iowa beat Wisconsin for the first time since 2017 with a 4-3 win over them last month.

The Badgers are on a four match winning streak right now behind the impressive play of junior Ava Markham, who has won her last four matches at the top of the lineup.

Senior Elise van Heuvelen Treadwell is fifth in program history in combined singles and doubles wins. She can tie Sonja Molnar for fourth on the list if she sweeps her singles and doubles matches this weekend.

Minnesota has not played as well this year, sporting a 3-6 record. But the Golden Gophers have won three of their last four matches, and Freshman Zeyneb Sarioglan is unbeaten in that stretch.

The Hawkeyes are hoping to see No. 97 Alexa Noel continue her undefeated season this weekend. The freshman is 16-0 in singles to start her career.

The men’s team will play Michigan Friday at noon and Michigan State Sunday at 11 a.m., and the women’s team will battle Wisconsin at 4 p.m. Friday and Minnesota at 3 p.m. Sunday. All matches will take place at the Hawkeye Tennis and Recreation Complex.