By Lauren Jimmerson
The Iowa men’s tennis team concluded its regular-season home schedule on Sunday, taking down Purdue (4-3). Following the conclusion of the match, the Hawkeyes paid tribute to their two seniors, Josh Silverstein and Jake Jacoby.
“[Silverstein and Jacoby] have grown a lot as people, not just as tennis players, but as people, students, and it’s been awesome to have those guys as part of the program,” said head coach Ross Wilson.
After dropping a match against Indiana on April 13, the Hawkeyes started the match strong against the Boilermakers, clinching the doubles point with two wins. Iowa has now captured the doubles point in 20 matches.
“The guys were able to put Friday night behind them and get a good day of practice in [on April 14], take care of their bodies, and then come back today, and be mentally tough and resilient,” Wilson said.
Freshman Piotr Smietana and Will Davies took the lead in doubles, defeating Athell Bennett and Maksymilian Raupuk (6-1). Joe Tyler and Jake Jacoby seized the doubles point, taking down Purdue’s No. 3 duo (6-3). Jacoby’s win, No. 126, leaves him tied for the fifth all-time for wins in Hawkeye history (singles and doubles).
Jacoby became emotional as the senior took the court for the last time in the Tennis Complex as a Hawkeye.
“During the match, I wasn’t feeling it as much as I was before the match, when we were getting pumped up,” he said. “Just thinking this is the last time I’ll listen to this [warm-up] soundtrack, it was kind of getting to me a little bit. At 10:30, I was in [the locker room] and tearing up a little bit, but it kind of motivated me today. I was excited because the guys were motived … on my and Josh’s behalf, which is special and honorable.”
No. 92 Gergely Madarasz kicked things off for the Boilermakers, sweeping Silverstein in straight sets. Tyler then chalked up the second team point for the Hawkeyes and his fifth conference win, defeating freshman Mateo Julio (6-2, 6-4). Kareem Allaf contributed another straight-set Iowa victory over sophomore Stephan Koenigsfest (6-4, 6-1).
After falling (6-2) in the first set, Davies took Bennett into a tiebreaker in the second set. The freshman battled but ultimately dropping the tiebreak (11-9), handing Purdue its second team point.
The final two matches stretched into three sets as the intensity increased at the Hawkeye Tennis & Recreation Complex.
Jacoby started strong, appearing in singles for the first time since April 1. The senior took the first set (6-1) but fell behind in during the second. The momentum began to swing in Iowa’s favor, but switched, and the match was ultimately handed to Purdue after a third-set win.
With the teams tied at 3, the fate of the match landed on Smietana facing longtime Polish friend Raupuk. After dropping the first set (6-4), the freshman turned the match in Iowa’s favor by winning the second-set tiebreaker point. The final set went to the Hawkeyes as Smietana snagged a 6-4 victory.
Before taking on the Boilermakers, the Hawkeyes fell to No. 48 Indiana (4-3) on April 13. The Hawkeyes played doubles outdoors at the Tennis Complex for the first time this season.
The change in scenery played well for the Hawkeyes, and they clinched the doubles point and took an early lead in the match. Larsen and Allaf quickly took down Indiana’s No. 1 duo (6-1), followed by a 6-3 victory by Smietana and Davies.
Indiana took control of the match, winning straight sets on courts two, three, and six. As inclement weather rolled into Iowa City, the remainder of the singles matches moved indoors.
The momentum shifted back to the Hawkeyes on the indoor courts as Allaf captured the first singles match for the Hawkeyes. Silverstein grabbed the second singles win over No. 116 Raheel Manji (6-7, 6-3, 6-4). Davies lost his five-match winning streak after falling in a third-set tiebreaker, handing the match to the Hoosiers.
It’s business as usual as the Hawkeyes will conclude their conference season against Michigan on Saturday and Michigan State on April 22.
“We’ll go on as usual,” Wilson said. “We’ve done a great job this year of just being consistent, and taking our values, and being able to do the same thing every time we get out on the court. We know this weekend is important.”