Iowa tennis notebook | Hawkeyes compete in first two tournaments of fall season

Three Iowa players won a combined 11 of 13 matches at the Charlotte Invite, while the other four Hawkeyes competed at the UTR College Circuit in Champaign, Illinois.


Gabby Drees

Iowa player Vipasha Mehra returns the ball during a tennis match betwen Iowa and Drake at Hawkeye Tennis and Recreation Complex in Iowa City on Sunday, Jan. 16, 2022. Mehra defeated Drake player Darinka Stepan 6-2, 7-6. Iowa beat Drake 6-1.

Matt McGowan, Sports Reporter

Three members of the Iowa women’s tennis team left the Charlotte Invitational on Sept. 25 with an 11-2 overall record. Senior Anya Lamoreaux, junior Vipasha Mehra, and freshman Pia Kranholdt were undefeated in doubles play. Kranholdt took Iowa’s only defeats.

While no school was officially crowned the winner of the round-robin style tournament, the Hawkeyes gained valuable experience and confidence over the three-day event.

“I think that some of those wins were matches that they really had to dig and fight for, so I’m really proud of them to be able to do what they needed to do under pressure,” head coach Sasha Schmid told The Daily Iowan. “That’s something that you can’t manufacture in practice.”

Mehra felt that pressure during her last singles match of the tournament. After she and Charlotte’s Lucia Aranda split the first two sets, instead of a third set, the two played a first-to-10 tiebreak. Down 4-2 and then 7-6, Mehra fought back to win, 10-7, and remain undefeated in her singles play.

During the crucial moments of the tiebreak, Mehra said associate coach Daniel Leitner gave her the confidence she needed to close out the victory. 

“He told me not to change anything, to keep doing what you’re doing,” Mehra said. 

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Like Mehra, Lamoreaux also never lost a singles match. 

Kranholdt went 0-2 in singles in her first collegiate event but won all three of her doubles matches. 

Improving in Illinois 

The rest of Iowa’s roster — senior Samantha Mannix, freshman Daianne Hayashida, and sophomores Marisa Schmidt, and Barbora Pokorna — played in a Universal Tennis Rankings tournament in Champaign, Illinois, from Sept. 24-26, yielding mixed results. 

In singles play, Hayashida advanced to the quarterfinals, Mannix and Schmidt each reached the second round, and Pokorna fell in the first round. 

In doubles, the duo of Mannix and Schmidt were runners-up, while Pokorna and Hayashida lost in the first round. 

While Schmidt didn’t think she played well, she is looking forward to continuing to work on her game in a competitive setting, and not just in practice.

“I feel like I just need to play more confident in matches,” Schmidt said. “I know in practice I can hit a good forehand, so I just need to commit to my forehand also in a match.” 

Although head coach Schmid did not make the trip to Champaign, she said matches, especially close ones, are the barometer of her team’s progress. 

“Sure, matches are a lot more uncomfortable than practice, but embrace being uncomfortable, as that is where the growth will take place,” Schmid said. 

Up next for the Hawkeyes is a trip out west to San Diego to compete in the Intercollegiate Championships from Oct. 7-9. Mehra, Mannix, Schmidt, and Hayashida will represent the Hawkeyes in that event. 

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