By Lauren Jimmerson
The Iowa men’s tennis team is back in action at the Hawkeye Tennis & Recreation Complex this weekend for two conference matchups. The Hawkeyes will first take on No. 48 Indiana at 6 p.m. April 13, followed by Purdue at noon April 15.
The second match marks Iowa’s last regular-season home contest before hosting the Big Ten Men’s Tennis Tournament later this month. After the match, the team will recognize the two seniors, Jake Jacoby and Josh Silverstein, for their contributions to the program.
Before coming to Iowa, Jacoby was a five-star recruit and placed first in the Arkansas state championships four times. The senior traveled the country, developing his tennis abilities while also performing as an all-state goalie in soccer.
He kicked off his college tennis career in the fall of 2014, recording six singles and six doubles wins, two of which came alongside Silverstein. Since his freshman début, Jacoby has earned 67 singles wins and is tied for eighth place in career-doubles wins at Iowa with 58.
Silverstein will also make his final home regular-season appearance Sunday afternoon. The Great Neck, New York, native also appeared as a five-star recruit. He advanced to the semifinals in singles and doubles competition at the 2014 International Grass Courts Championships and was also a quarterfinalist at the U.S. Tennis Association Winter National Championships.
Silverstein boasts 61 career singles wins and has spent the majority of his career competing as the No. 1 player. Overall, the senior is tied at 16 in No. 1 singles matches.
While two top players will leave the Iowa lineup, Silverstein is confident the underclassmen can continue to improve Iowa men’s tennis.
“I think the freshmen remind me of me as a freshman,” he said. “I and Jake came in as freshmen and were winning a lot of matches, helping out the team like crazy. Now these guys are doing the same thing. They’re getting wins on the board, doing everything that they are supposed to be doing, and I’m just extremely proud of all of them.”
Jacoby, Silverstein, and their teammates will try to end their nine-match losing streak to the Hoosiers. Indiana enters the weekend with an 11-10 season record, 4-3 in the Big Ten.
The Hoosiers have one ranked singles player, No. 116 senior Raheel Manji. The Ontario native has contributed 63 singles wins throughout his four years. Classmate Keivon Tabrizi also won slightly more than 25 singles matches in his two years as a Hoosier.
After Indiana, the Hawkeyes will turn their attention to Purdue. The Boilermakers have a 9-13 season record, 1-6 in the Big Ten, with their only conference victory coming against Wisconsin on April 7.
No. 94 senior Gergely Madarasz leads the Boilermakers, posting wins in his last four singles matches. He plays alongside sophomore Athell Bennett in doubles, and the two are ranked 68th.
Purdue will host Nebraska April 13 before facing the Hawkeyes. The last Iowa victory over Purdue was on April 3, 2015, when the Hawkeyes took down the Boilermakers (4-1) in West Lafayette.
With an 11-4 home record this season, the Hawkeyes hope to smash their two-match losing streak with some home-court advantage.