By Cody Smith
The Iowa women’s tennis team will travel west this weekend, but not too far, heading to Lincoln to face Nebraska, the fifth ranked team to date on the Hawkeyes’ schedule.
The Hawkeyes will try to knock off the No. 46 Huskers at 11 a.m. April 14 at the Sid and Hazel Dillon Tennis Center. But doing so won’t be so easy; Nebraska is 15-6, 4-4 in the Big Ten.
“I’m super pumped and excited to go against the Huskers this weekend,” said senior Anastasia Reimchen. “I think we are on a roll right now, and we’re coming off a good win on [April 8, 5-2 over Rutgers].”
Reimchen, like other the Hawkeyes, is coming off a hot match in which she went undefeated in both singles and doubles play. The senior wants to be in control much as she was earlier in the season — she dominated every match.
“You really just have to trust your own game and follow the game plan,” she said.
But it’ll be easier said than done; Nebraska has two elite athletes carrying the program.
Senior Katerina Matysova leads the Huskers with a 12-2 record in singles and a 12-1 record in doubles. The Huskers also have juggernaut Claire Reifeis, who has accumulated a 12-3 record in singles and 10-3 record in doubles.
The Hawkeyes and Huskers have traded blows in recent years; Iowa won last season’s matchup, 4-3, and Nebraska ousted Iowa the previous season, 5-2.
But Iowa’s captain, senior Zoe Douglas, realizes this year is different. The team has gone through a turbulent season, losing players for the season because of injuries, but it also gained a new teammate late in the season in Adrienne Jensen.
“We have had a little bit of a rough time, but we are bouncing back and doing everything we can to finish strong,” Douglas said.
With only three matches remaining before the regular season ends, Iowa desperately needs to pull an upset against the Huskers if it wants a shot to play in the Big Ten Tournament in Minneapolis later this month.
Sophomore Elise van Heuvelen and Reimchen still claim the only spot for the Hawkeyes in the Intercollegiate Tennis Association rankings. The doubles partners fell eight spots, putting them as the No. 55 this season.
Iowa needs to begin the match with lots of intensity during doubles play, because it’s been the Achilles heel in loses, starting with an early deficit. If the Hawkeyes can get ahead early, there might be an upset in the cards, similar to what they accomplished against Northwestern and Ohio State earlier this season.