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Men’s tennis readies for Iowa, Nebraska

first_imgThe Wisconsin men’s tennis team will look to finish the season better than it started during this weekend’s final regular season matches against opponents also sitting in the lower half of the conference standings. The Badgers will first host the Iowa Hawkeyes and then travel to Lincoln, Neb., to take on the Big Ten’s newest addition, the Nebraska Cornhuskers.All three teams dwell in the lower end of the Big Ten this season with Nebraska at eighth, Wisconsin at 10th and Iowa in last with just one win all season in a non-conference match. According to head coach Greg Van Emburgh, despite the losing season, the Hawkeyes are not a team that can be overlooked.“We are definitely taking every conference match with a lot of pride and a lot of heart,” Van Emburgh said. “We don’t have the luxury of looking past any team.”Iowa has recently shown its resilience, especially on the doubles court. In their most recent match against Michigan, the Hawkeyes lost 6-1 as a team but there were several individual noteworthy victories. One such win came from the No. 1 doubles pairing of Garret Dunn and Michael Swank, who defeated the No. 13 doubles team in the nation of Evan King and Shaun Bernstein. The 8-7 win marked just the second of the season for Dunn and Swank and also marks the highest-ranked doubles win since head coach Steve Houghton arrived at Iowa.Dunn also excelled on the singles court as he has done all year. He tallied the only Hawkeye singles win of the day with a 4-6, 6-4, 1-0 (5) victory over Michigan’s Barrett Franks at the No. 4 singles position. Dunn extended his conference winning streak to three matches and currently leads the Hawkeyes with a 9-9 record on the season.“Iowa has a great doubles spot,” Van Emburgh said. “Overall, they haven’t been playing the best results-wise, but that doesn’t mean that they don’t have solid tennis players on their team.”In last season’s match against the Hawkeyes, the Badgers commanded both the singles and doubles courts in a 5-2 victory. However, Wisconsin will be facing a rather unfamiliar roster this time around as three out of the six Iowa singles players from last year’s lineup have since graduated, leaving the Hawkeyes – much like the Badgers – with a very young team. Iowa’s youth have competed through a tough season, facing 12 ranked opponents in their last 13 matches.On paper, the only difference between the Badgers and the Hawkeyes is their season record. Similar to Wisconsin, Iowa players remain persistent, pushing many singles matches to three sets and usually losing doubles matches by four games or less. A young leader for Wisconsin, sophomore Petr Satral recognizes the importance of preparing for each team equally regardless of record.“This year, Iowa is not that strong, but we still need to play well to win because our teams are playing very similar,” Satral said. “It will not be an easy match, so we still need to be prepared to get our win.”Wisconsin will finish up the regular season with a trip to Nebraska to try its luck against the Cornhuskers Sunday. Nebraska is just below .500 at 10-12 overall and is currently on a three-game slide, leaving them at 3-6 in conference play.The No. 71 Cornhuskers will be celebrating Senior Night for three graduates in their match against the Badgers, including co-captain and singles leader Benedikt Lindheim. The senior from Germany’s 63 career singles wins have earned him the No. 4 spot on Nebraska’s all-time wins list. Lindheim has split time in the No. 1 singles position with fellow senior and co-captain Christopher Aumueller, who has 52 career wins.Wisconsin has not had the chance to play Nebraska in past seasons since the team is new to the Big Ten. However, the Badgers can expect a similar level of play from the Cornhuskers, as they too have had close matches against tough opponents all season.In its match against Iowa earlier this year, Nebraska came out on top in a 6-1 victory, but not without a fight from the Hawkeyes. The Huskers won the doubles point despite only winning each match by two or three games. Singles proved to be less of a challenge, as Nebraska only dropped one match at the No. 4 singles spot.Van Emburgh and the Badgers are preparing for their final Big Ten regular season matches just as they have all season: by refusing to overlook a team based on record.“You look at their results, and you don’t see wins,” Van Emburgh said. “But if you get a couple of guys to step up on a particular day, then all of a sudden the results happen.”last_img

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