Iowa women’s tennis prepares for Kansas State, begins conference play against Minnesota

The Hawkeyes will travel to Manhattan, Kansas, to take on the Wildcats, before returning to Iowa City to open Big Ten play against the Golden Gophers.


Gabby Drees

Iowa tennis players huddle up before a tennis match between Iowa and Drake at Hawkeye Tennis and Recreation Complex in Iowa City on Sunday, Jan. 16, 2022. Iowa beat Drake, 6-1.

Chase Szewc, Sports Reporter

Iowa women’s tennis will hit the road to take on 5-3 Kansas State this Friday. The Hawkeyes were originally supposed to travel to Manhattan, Kansas, on Feb. 6, but the match was postponed because of COVID-19 issues in the Iowa program.

The 4-4 Hawkeyes are currently on a three-match losing streak — their longest since the 2019-20 season. The Wildcats have been trending in a similar direction, losing three of their last five matches after starting the spring season 3-0.

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Although the Hawkeyes and Wildcats are dueling for the first time in 2021-22, Iowa freshman Barbora Pokorna is already familiar with some of the Kansas State squad.

Pokorna faced off against Kansas State’s Karine-Marion Job at the ITA Central Regionals on Oct. 23, 2021.  Job defeated Pokorna, 6-2, 7-5, in the round of 32, and went on to the championship match.

The Hawkeyes have seen little production in their No. 3, No. 4, and No. 5 seeds. In Iowa’s three-match losing streak, no individual victories have come from those spots. Those positions have been prominently held by sophomore Vipasha Mehra and seniors Samantha Gillas and Michelle Bacalla.

Iowa’s most productive players so far in 2022 have been true freshmen. Pokorna and freshman Marisa Schmidt have combined to post a singles record of 9-3 and are two of the three players on the roster with a winning record.

After taking on Kansas State on Friday, Iowa will travel back to begin conference play against No. 45 Minnesota at the Hawkeye Tennis and Recreation Complex.

Minnesota is 11-2 in 2022, and it will be the highest-ranked team Iowa has played so far this season. Both of the Golden Gophers’ losses have come in their past three matches.

Minnesota will compete against Nebraska on Saturday before traveling to Iowa City.

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