Iowa tennis’ Mannix, Noel ready for ITA All-American Championships

Sophomore Alexa Noel and senior Samantha Mannix will be representing Iowa women’s tennis at the ITA All-American Championships this week.


Jerod Ringwald

Iowa’s Alexa Noel goes low to return a ball during a women’s tennis meet at the Hawkeye Tennis and Recreation Complex on Thursday, Feb. 26, 2021. The Hawkeyes defeated the Hoosiers with a score of 4-3.

Chase Szewc, Sports Reporter

Iowa women’s tennis will participate in its second tournament of the 2021-22 season this week. Sophomore Alex Noel and senior Samantha Mannix will be the Hawkeyes’ two representatives at the Intercollegiate Tennis Association’s All-American Championships in Charleston, South Carolina.

The tournament’s qualifying rounds will be played Oct. 4-5, with main draw action to follow Oct. 6-10.

Mannix and Noel will compete together in the doubles portion of the tournament. Noel will play the tourney’s singles draw solo. Mannix is not currently slated to participate in the singles draw.

The last time Noel hit the court, she lost in the first round of the International Tennis Federation’s Dallas-Fort Worth World Tour 25K. Pepperdine’s Ashley Lahey defeated Noel in two sets, 4-6, 4-6.

The ITA All-American Championships is Mannix’s first event of the 2021-22 season. On paper, it looks like this event will kick off Mannix’s last season as a Hawkeye. The Elkhorn, Nebraskan, however, plans to utilize the extra year of eligibility the NCAA granted all its athletes in 2020-21 because of COVID-19.

“I actually just applied for the grad program for Sport and Recreation Management here at the University of Iowa,” Mannix said. “So, hopefully I will have the next three semesters to complete that.”

Mannix has played in the ITA All-American Championships before. She received her first invitation to the event two years ago.

“I played in the opening qualifying draw,” Mannix said. “It was at Tulsa and [I] lost a close one in the second round.

St. John’s Jessica Livinau defeated Mannix in the singles pre-qualifying draw of the 2019 ITA All-American Championships.

Mannix also competed in the tournament’s doubles draw in 2019 with former Iowa women’s tennis player Elise van Heuevelen Treadwell. The pair lost its first match of the qualifying round.

“It was a really great experience,” Mannix said. “So, I am really excited to be able to go another time this year.”

RELATED: Noel to return to Iowa for her second season of college tennis

Noel is competing in her first ITA All-American Championships this week.

Mannix has been working on a number of things in practice in preparation for the 2021 ITA All-American Championships — some of which pertain to the mental side of tennis, while others have to do with the game’s physical aspects.

“I’ve been working on a lot of movements, staying really aggressive, and a lot of forehands,” Mannix said. “Doing my best to take advantage of any weaknesses from my opponents, so I’m just trying to be as aggressive as I can.”

Despite her early exit from the 2019 ITA All-American Championships, Mannix is going to approach this year’s iteration of the tournament the same way she did two years ago.

“It’s pretty similar, we’ve been playing a lot of sets,” Mannix said on Oct. 1. “Today, we were able to play a singles set within our practice with everyone. Then me and [Noel] were able to play a doubles set against a couple other players. I think really just being able to translate what I do in practice into sets really helps this. Then, hopefully we can translate that into actual competition.”

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