Iowa women’s tennis completes weekend sweep of Denver, Kansas State

Playing at home for the first time this spring season, the Hawkeyes took down the Pioneers, 5-2, and the Wildcats, 4-1.


Cody Blissett

Iowa fifth-year senior Samantha Mannix Celebrates during the Hawkeyes match against the Kansas State Wildcats on Feb. 5 at the Hawkeye Tennis and Recreation Complex. The Hawkeyes beat the Wildcats, 41.

Matt McGowan, Sports Reporter

The Iowa women’s tennis team won both of its home-opening matches this weekend, defeating Denver, 5-2, on Feb. 3 and Kansas State, 4-1, on Feb. 5. The Hawkeyes narrowly lost to both teams last season, falling by identical scores of 4-3 to the Wildcats and Pioneers, respectively. 

Determination against Denver

In singles play against Denver, multiple Hawkeyes won in straight sets, including sophomore Marisa Schmidt on court 1, fifth-year senior Samantha Mannix on 2, and freshman Daianne Hayashida on 4. 

“I thought the critical moments were really just for Sam, Marisa, and Dai to close out their matches in straights,” Iowa head coach Sasha Schmid said. “So that was something that we weren’t really doing really well the first week of competition, but I think that’s where we need the growth. So I was happy to see that tonight.” 

Sophomore Barbora Pokorna was the other Iowa singles winner on Friday. After dropping the first set, 6-4, the Ostrava, Czech Republic, native defeated Pioneer freshman five-star recruit Caroline Driscoll in the next two sets to close out the victory. 

“There’s a lot of momentum changes in a match and we have to respond when it doesn’t go our way because it’s not always going to go our way over the course of a long tennis match,” Schmid said. “So you can’t really hang your head at all. You just got to get back after it, and I thought we did a better job with that today than we did in week one out of the gate.” 

Doubles domination

The Hawkeyes won four of the five doubles sets completed during the two matches. 

The No. 1 combination of Schmidt and fifth-year senior Anya Lamoreaux went 1-1 over the weekend while the No. 3 team of junior Vipasha Mehra and Hayashida collected two victories. 

The No. 2 pair of Mannix and freshman Pia Kranholdt played an unfinished set against Denver, and then defeated Kansas State’s Rosanna Maffei and Maria Santos, 7-6.

With the set notched at six apiece, the teams played a seven-point tiebreak round to determine the winner of the match and the doubles point. 

Mannix and Kranholdt won the tiebreaker, 7-4.

“I love it when it comes down to my court, I always have, I think it’s fun,” Mannix said post-match. “I like the energy, the crowd. Pia is obviously a freshman so it was kind of a new experience for her. We haven’t gotten to finish a match yet together … We had a lot of fun and we tried to laugh off some mistakes and try to take away any negativity we might have had.” 

Schmid added that focusing on strategy was key to staying positive. 

“We just really tried to call a play every time and not get caught up in the highs and lows of emotions of whether we won or lost the point,” Schmid said. “But just stay focused. I think that kept them in the present moment better than getting caught up in emotions of what just really happened on the last point.” 

Mannix Bounces Back 

After not winning either of her singles matches last weekend against Charlotte and Furman, Mannix won both of her singles contests in straight sets this weekend. 

RELATED: Fifth-year senior Samantha Mannix ready to lead Iowa women’s tennis in final season

“I think in singles, I have to remind myself that I want to build the points a little bit longer because doubles can be so short and quick,” Mannix said. “So I think going into singles I try to remind myself that I need to set up the points and really look for the ball that I want to attack on.” 

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