Iowa women’s tennis makes history with 11th conference win, men host last home match

The Iowa women’s tennis team found success on the road over the weekend, while the men united for their last home match.


Ayrton Breckenridge

Iowa’s Jason Kerst prepares to hit the ball during a men’s tennis meet between Iowa and Northwestern on Sunday, April 11 at the Hawkeye Tennis and Recreation Complex. The Wildcats defeated the Hawkeyes 6-1.

Will Fineman, Sports Reporter

Iowa women’s tennis made history Friday with its 5-2 road win over Rutgers.

The 39th ranked Hawkeyes tallied their 10th conference win, marking the most single season conference wins in program history. Iowa quickly followed that up with its 11th win against Maryland on Sunday.

“It was a good win for us on the road,” Iowa head women’s tennis coach Sasha Schmid said in a release Friday. “I think every Big Ten match is competitive and especially when we are away. We are excited to continue to build momentum from match to match.”

After losing the last four doubles points, the Hawkeyes won their doubles matches on every single court over the weekend.

RELATED: Iowa tennis teams to play four matches this weekend

No. 20 Alexa Noel has now begun her college career with a 21-0 record after beating No. 30 Ayana Akli of Maryland and sweeping her singles matches this weekend. No. 78 Elise van Heuvelen Treadwell extended her winning streak to four.

Men’s tennis hosts last home match

It was a hard fought loss for Iowa men’s tennis on senior day against No. 45 Northwestern.

Sunday’s match was the same outcome as the March 7 match against the Wildcats with the Hawkeyes losing by a margin of, 6-1, once again. For the second time this season, Junior Will Davies was the only Hawkeye to grab a win in singles against Northwestern with his 6-4, 6-2, victory.

Iowa elected to wear white shirts with black, green, and blue designs for senior day as opposed to the red uniforms the team has donned for most of the season.

The red shirts were a message of unity in response to the news that the program would be cut after the academic year because of financial losses in the athletics department from the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Nothing too deep there,” senior Jason Kerst said. “We have had [the white shirts] on hand for a while. We wore those at the ITA kickoff in January, and we just thought for the last one we would change it up a little bit.”

Wind was the theme for Sunday’s match on the outdoor tennis courts at the Hawkeye Tennis and Recreation Complex.

Both Iowa and Northwestern had trouble dealing with errant balls affected by the wind as Northwestern’s Dominik Stary yelled that the conditions were like “playing in a circus” at Iowa’s Oliver Okonkwo during his 1-6, 6-1, 6-4, win over him.

“That’s become pretty standard,” Kerst said. “We have played four matches outside this year and they have all been extremely gusty.”

The Hawkeyes honored Kerst, Davies, and fellow seniors Kareem Allaf and Joe Tyler for senior day Sunday.

It was an emotional day for Allaf who, after his win on Friday against No. 43 Siphosothando Montsi, came up short in the final home singles and doubles matches of his career.

Allaf is in his sixth year with Iowa men’s tennis and is the program leader in combined singles and doubles wins.

“It’s not going to exist anymore,” Allaf said. “I’m proud of what I did, I’m proud that I could help a program that was nothing turn into something. There’s a lot to reflect on, but at the end of the day, always coming back here, there’s not going to be anything else, so it will all probably just be wiped out, and that’s our situation.”

The Hawkeyes were taken down Friday as well by No. 14 Illinois, 5-2.

Iowa went 0-2 on the weekend in doubles, and Allaf and sophomore Oliver Okonkwo were the only players to tally singles wins.