Iowa women’s tennis prepared to host Big Ten Championships, face Michigan State

Iowa will welcome the rest of the conference to the Hawkeye Tennis and Recreation Complex for the five-day championship event.


Braden Ernst

Iowa’s Samantha Mannix hits a ball during a women’s tennis meet between Iowa and Illinois inside the Hawkeyes Tennis & Recreation Complex on Friday, April 1, 2022. Mannix won her match 2-1. The Illini defeated the Hawkeyes, 4-2.

Chris Werner, Sports Reporter

The Iowa women’s tennis team will host the 2022 Big Ten Championships this week at the Hawkeye Tennis and Recreation Complex in Iowa City. The tournament will run from Wednesday to Sunday.

The 12th-seeded Hawkeyes will face the No. 13 seed Michigan State Spartans in the first round of the event on Wednesday at 2 p.m.

“It’s really exciting,” Iowa head coach Sasha Schmid said of hosting the conference tournament. “It only comes once every 14 years, so you have to really appreciate it. I certainly am grateful for all the work the staff has put into this event. It takes a lot of work on behalf of the event management and all our different support staff. So, we’re really grateful for all the work they put in and it’s exciting to have all the teams here in Iowa City at one time.”

The Hawkeyes haven’t hosted the Big Ten Tournament since 2009. Iowa senior Samantha Mannix believes that home-court advantage will give the Hawkeyes an edge on their league foes.

“I think I think it definitely helps to be able to just kind of have your normal routine,” Mannix told The Daily Iowan. “Sleep in your own bed, kind of eat whatever you want, not have any traveling or any time differences. I think just being able to be comfortable on our home courts and having a few extra fans in the crowd, I think we’re all excited to have a little bit of an advantage being on our home courts.”

Iowa beat Michigan State, 4-1, earlier this year in East Lansing. Despite that, the Hawkeyes are approaching their matchup with the Spartans as an entirely new challenge.

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“We were fortunate to be able to get to four points in that match,” Schmid said of the Hawkeyes and Spartans’ matchup on April 14. “I think the doubles point was something that helped us and kind of could be something we could get the momentum off of. But I mean, I think we’re expecting it to be hard-fought.

“I think it’s likely we’ll play them outside,” Schmid added. “We played inside last time and some of the lineup positions are different. So, even though we played less than three weeks ago, I think it’s a completely different match.”

Iowa’s victory over Michigan State was one of only two Hawkeye conference victories this season. While Iowa went 6-16 on the season, it’s approaching the Big Ten Tournament as a fresh start.

“I think, for me personally, just kind of wiping away everything that’s happened and realizing that, in a conference tournament, really anything can happen,” Mannix said. “I mean, across the country, teams have won that aren’t the one seed, aren’t the two seed. It’s very exciting, and I think just kind of realizing that each match is a new beginning.”

The 2022 Big Tournament will kick off at 10 a.m. Wednesday. Eleventh-seeded Purdue will take on No. 14 seed Rutgers in the event’s opening contest.

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