Iowa women’s tennis set for fall season

The Hawkeyes will compete in three tournaments this fall, including the Northwestern Invitational Oct. 8-10.


Shivansh Ahuja

Iowa head coach Sasha Schmid (right) talks with Danielle Burich during a women’s tennis match between Iowa and Nebraska at the HTRC on Saturday, April 13, 2019. The Hawkeyes, celebrating senior day, fell to the Cornhuskers, 4-2.

Dawson Moore, Sports Reporter

Iowa women’s tennis did not compete in any fall tournaments in 2020 because of COVID-19 as the Hawkeyes were complying with a Big Ten Conference-mandated postponement of all fall sports seasons to the spring.

This season, Iowa will be allowed to play the entirety of its fall schedule. So, Iowa kicked off its first practices of the 2021-22 academic year last week at the Hawkeye Tennis and Recreation Complex.

The Hawkeyes finished the 2020-21 spring season with 14-8 overall and 12-4 conference records. While Iowa’s win-loss records did not merit an NCAA tournament berth last year, the Hawkeyes felt like they were good enough to play deep into the postseason.

“It was difficult to not see our names on the board,” Hawkeye head coach Sasha Schmid said of Iowa’s 2020-21 NCAA tournament hopes. “So, that’s motivated me, and I think that’s motivated the team. Not only do we want to make the tournament, but we want to go deep into the tournament.”

“We really feel like we should have been there last year, and we want to make a statement,” Schmid added. “Unlike the fall season last year, each player will be participating in three to four tournaments to prepare for the spring season.”

Sophomore Alexa Noel was the lone Hawkeye to qualify for the 2020-21 NCAA tournament. Last year, Noel racked up Big Ten Player and Freshman of the Year honors in addition to All-American recognition.

Noel finished the 2020-21 season with a 24-1 singles record. She exited the NCAA tournament in the second round, falling to LSU’s Paris Conley after sustaining an ankle injury.

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“I hope to be 100 percent recovered with my ankle in a month or so, and just play my best in the upcoming events that I have,” Noel told The Daily Iowan.

Senior Samantha Mannix will also be returning to Iowa’s lineup in 2021-22. Last season, Mannix posted a 13-6 doubles record.

This season, she’s focused on propelling the Hawkeyes to the NCAA tournament.

“We missed the cut to make the NCAA tournament by one spot last season, and that was up to us,” Mannix said. “So, that’s the main goal for each one of us. So, I think we’ll be able to use these fall tournaments where it’s more individual to work out any specifics that we need with our game physically and mentally.”

Mannix and Noel will have to help fill holes in Iowa’s lineup this season, as the Hawkeyes graduated three seniors at the end of their 2020-21 campaign.

Among those that departed from Iowa in the offseason is Elise Van Heuvelen Treadwell, who finished her Hawkeye career with 180 combined singles and doubles wins — second-most in Iowa women’s tennis history. Van Heuvelen Treadwell joined the coaching staff as a volunteer assistant for the 2021-22 season.

The Hawkeyes added two freshmen to their roster ahead of this season: Barbora Pokorna and Olivia Weiss. Pokrona started practicing with the Hawkeyes last week and Weiss is awaiting medical clearance before she begins practice at Iowa.

The Hawkeyes will kick off the fall season in Tulsa, Oklahoma, at the Dallas-Fort Worth 25K Sept. 20-26.