Iowa tennis teams to play four matches this weekend

The Hawkeye men’s team will face No. 14 Illinois and No. 45 Northwestern at home this weekend while the women’s team will travel to the east coast to take on Rutgers and Maryland.


Brianna Brown

UI’s Alexa Noel prepares to hit the ball at the women’s tennis meet against Nebraska on Sunday, March 28, 2021. The meet was the labeled as “senior day,” which was also the 2021 home finale meet. The Hawkeyes defeated the Nebraska Huskers 4-2.

Will Fineman, Sports Reporter

After a week off, Iowa women’s tennis returns to action this weekend for two road matchups on the east coast.

The Hawkeyes enter their matches with Rutgers and Maryland this weekend fresh off a big win over No. 33 Nebraska last week. No. 39 Iowa is also currently riding a three-match win streak.

“I think it really speaks about the direction of the team, and their confidence is growing,” Hawkeye head coach Schmid said of the Hawkeyes’ recent success. “We want to make this season go as long as possible.”

Over their last three matches, the Hawkeyes have relied on their singles play. Iowa has won all three of its most recent matches without earning the doubles point even once.

“Unfortunately, we have been in that situation the last three matches,” Schmid said. “We don’t want to make a habit of losing the doubles point.”

After a 19-0 start in singles, Hawkeye freshman Alexa Noel is currently ranked 20th in the country per the Intercollegiate Tennis Association. Noel’s No. 20 ranking is the highest any individual has ever received in Iowa women’s tennis history.

Noel is also just the third Hawkeye freshman to be ranked inside the ITA’s top 125.

Iowa’s Friday foe, Rutgers, has also been hot of late, winning three of its last six matches after an 0-7 start to the season.

No Scarlet Knights, however, boast a winning singles record this season.

The Hawkeyes’ Sunday opponent, Maryland, has not performed much better than Rutgers this season.

RELATED: Allaf becomes Iowa tennis’ all-time leader in combined wins

Despite two of their players being ranked inside the ITA top 125, the Terrapins now boast a 1-12 record after their most recent loss to the Scarlet Knights.

Maryland sophomore Ayana Akli is ranked No. 30 and has a 10-2 record this season. She will likely face Noel this weekend.

“[The win against Nebraska] definitely gives us a bit of confidence going into these next couple of matches knowing that we can beat a good team,” Hawkeye senior Elise van Heuvelen Treadwell said. “There is always more work to be done. We have a bit of a longer stretch here, so a good couple of practice days and then we really just have to keep getting after it because we have goals beyond just the regular season.”

While the Hawkeye women have excelled, the Iowa men have fallen to 4-10 overall on the heels of an active six-match losing streak.

Iowa men’s tennis will play its final home matches in program history at the Hawkeye Tennis and Recreation Complex this weekend as the sport is slated to be cut at the end of the 2020-21 academic year to help Iowa Athletics shrink its financial deficit.

The Hawkeyes will have two chances to snap the longest losing streak the program has suffered under the watchful eye of head coach Ross Wilson.

No. 14 Illinois will face Iowa at the HTRC Friday and No. 45 Northwestern will do so Sunday.

Iowa enters the matches fresh off a loss to a previously win-less Nebraska team.

The 14-2 Fighting Illini boast four players ranked inside the ITA top 125 and four team wins over ranked opponents.

Iowa has already lost to both Illinois and Northwestern, falling 7-0 and 6-1, respectively.

The Hawkeyes’ all-time leader in combined singles and doubles wins Kareem Allaf will be honored with his teammate Jason Kerst Sunday as part of Iowa’s senior day festivities.