Apr. 13, 2014
IOWA CITY, Iowa -- No. 34 Northwestern beat Iowa 5-2 Sunday afternoon, though the four and a half hour match was actually much closer than the final score may indicate. The victory marks NU's fifth in a row, and the `Cats climb to 17-9 on the season and 5-4 in conference play.
Doubles competition was a competitive affair. The 23rd-ranked doubles team of senior Raleigh Smith and sophomore Mihir Kumar jumped out of the gate with a decisive 8-2 victory at No. 1.
The Hawkeyes then prevailed 8-4 at No. 2, which forced the tiebreaker at No. 3. After a close battle, the Wildcat pair of sophomore Fedor Baev and freshman Strong Kirchheimer was able to pull off an 8-7 (9-7) victory, giving NU the first point of the match.
To begin singles play, No. 125 Sam Shropshire continued his winning ways with a quick 6-3, 6-2 triumph at No. 2 over Brian Alden. The freshman extends his undefeated streak to twelve, nine of which he has won outright, and is 8-0 against Big Ten opponents.
The Hawkeyes then got on the board at No. 4, where Matt Hagan defeated Kumar 7-6 (7-0), 6-3. However, the `Cats pulled ahead again as Kirchheimer, another freshman on an incredible winning streak, emerged the victor at No. 5. His 6-4, 6-3 win over Dominic Patrick marks his seventh consecutive victory, and his ninth amidst a ten-match unbeaten streak.
Junior Alex Pasareanu secured the deciding fourth point for Northwestern at No. 6. After tight competition in the first two sets, Pasareanu triumphed in the third to beat Michael Swank 7-6 (7-5), 5-7, 6-3.
At No. 1, No. 54 Smith had dropped the first set but played through an injury to win the second in a tiebreaker. Once Pasareanu clinched at No. 6, however, the senior retired from the contest, giving opponent Jonas Dierckx the 7-5, 6-7 (6-8), 1-0 win and Iowa's second point.
Freshman Konrad Zieba concluded the evening with another three-set match against Juan Estenssoro, ultimately triumphing 4-6, 7-6 (7-3), 6-4.
The Wildcats return home next week to wrap Big Ten play and the dual match regular season. Wisconsin comes to town for a 2:30 p.m. match on Friday, and the `Cats host Minnesota for Senior Day at noon on Sunday.
#34 Northwestern 5, Iowa 2
1. #23 Raleigh Smith / Mihir Kumar (NU) def. Brian Alden / Michael Swank (IOWA) 8-2
2. Jonas Dierckx / Matt Hagan (IOWA) def. Mihir Kumar / Konrad Zieba (NU) 8-4
3. Strong Kirchheimer / Fedor Baev (NU) def. Chase Tomlins / Joey White (IOWA) 8-7 (9-7)
Order of finish: 1, 2, 3*
1. Jonas Dierckx (IOWA) def. #54 Raleigh Smith (NU) 7-5, 6-7 (6-8), 1-0 (retired)
2. #125 Sam Shropshire (NU) def. Brian Alden 6-3, 6-2
3. Konrad Zieba (NU) def. Juan Estenssoro (IOWA) 4-6, 7-6 (7-3), 6-4
4. Matt Hagan (IOWA) def. Mihir Kumar (NU) 7-6 (7-0), 6-3
5. Strong Kirchheimer (NU) def. Dominic Patrick (IOWA) 6-4, 6-3
6. Alex Pasareanu (NU) def. Michael Swank (IOWA) 7-6 (7-5), 5-7, 6-3
Order of finish: 2, 4, 5, 6*, 1, 3