By Nicholas Moreano
For the Iowa women’s tennis team, the quest for perfection continues as the Hawkeyes hit the road to face Texas-Arlington on Feb. 19.
The Hawkeyes will look to improve to 8-0 for the first time since the 2007-08 season and the fourth time in school history that the Hawkeyes have started 8-0 or better. It also happened during the 1993-94 season, which current head coach Sasha Schmid was a part of as a player and in the 1989-90 season, when the Hawkeyes had their best start in school history, 12-0.
Schmid has been on her own undefeated run as a Hawkeye and doesn’t want her team to let that get into their heads.
“It’s not one time that we have talked about our record as a team,” Schmid said. “So much of what we will evaluate ourselves in is Big Ten play, and I wouldn’t want 7-0 to feel like we have accomplished something yet.”
To make sure the record doesn’t get into her player’s heads, Schmid wants her players to continue to practice hard throughout the week and continue to improve. Schmid can’t focus on the record because she is busy dealing with who will play at the No. 2 and No. 3 spot in doubles each week.
Since the start of the spring season, there have been four different combinations at the No. 2 spot and five different combinations at the No. 3 spot. In doubles, both the No. 1 and No. 3 spot have been dominant throughout the season, with only one loss between the two, which happened at the No. 3 spot back in the first week. However, he No. 2 spot has struggled, with the various combinations only winning two out seven matches.
Even though the Hawkeyes have had various numbers of players fill in at both the No. 2 and No. 3 spot, the Hawkeyes have won every single doubles point since the first week, against Central Florida.
Not only is doubles the problem keeping Schmid’s mind busy, so is the Hawkeyes’ opponent. The Mavericks are 2-3 on the season, with two close losses, one against Big Ten opponent Michigan State, 4-3, and against UTEP, 4-3.
The Mavericks were a late addition to the schedule, and Schmid wants to see how the Hawkeyes will fare against their toughest opponent to date. What will also make this match difficult for the Hawkeyes is that it will be played outside.
“It’s a bit different; we are playing outdoors,” freshman Elise van Heuvelen said. “The conditions are different, so we tried to play outdoors yesterday.”
The Hawkeyes plan to practice outside for the rest of the week to help them get accustomed to those conditions, which involves playing in the wind and playing on an outdoor court, something that the Hawkeyes have only experienced once this spring season.
For junior Anastasia Reimchen, the main thing her and the rest of the team must do to come out victorious is to remain confident in themselves. With an undefeated record, the Hawkeyes should be confident, but they can’t overestimate their opponent.
“I think they are going to be the best team that we have played so far,” Schmid said. “We just need a good, strong, competitive opponent to evaluate where we are.”