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Sunday, May 19
The Indiana Daily Student

sports

Senior hopes to win his way into Hoosier record books

Senior Paul Jacobson entered the spring season with many goals in mind, one being to finish as one of the top five all-time winningest men's tennis players in IU history. \nThat goal seems to have consumed him.\nHaving won 27 matches during each of the past two seasons, Jacobson entered 2001 with a total of 68 victories, 20 behind former Hoosier David Russell, who holds fifth place on the all-time list. Jacobson started hot this spring, dominating play and quickly climbing toward his goal. \nThen, chaos hit.\nStanding at 16-8 in match play, Jacobson began what turned into a nine-match losing streak. \n"I began to put too much pressure on myself and focus too much on tennis," Jacobson said. "I care about my tennis so much that I started to think only about that and did not let myself think about things outside of tennis."\nWith his slump not showing any signs of a break, coach Ken Hydinger moved Jacobson from the No. 3 singles spot to No. 4. In his first match at the No. 4 position, Jacobson was able to break his slump with a victory against Penn State's Steven Van der Westhuyzen. \nThe victory pushed Jacobson's career record to 85 wins, three shy of Russell's total. Jacobson will be in need of a tournament run -- from himself and his teammates -- at this week's Big Ten Championships if he is to eclipse Russell's mark. \nRegardless of whether he finishes in the top five in career victories, Jacobson will leave his mark on the IU men's tennis program. \nLast season, Jacobson was named to the All-Big Ten Academic team, and last fall, he was able to reach the sweet 16 round of the All-America Championships, a contest which drew 256 competitors. These are just a few of the many accomplishments highlighting Jacobson's career. \n"Paul has won an awful lot of matches for us," Hydinger said. "He made a personal commitment to himself and to his team, and he has been a great player here for four years. I've really enjoyed Paul, and I really respect him as an individual and as a tennis player."\nHis teammates have also felt the effects of Jacobson's commitment.\n"He is a great teammate and a great leader," junior Rahman Smiley said. "I have looked up to him since we were younger, and he sets a great example of hard work and discipline for those who follow him."\nWith his college career almost over, Jacobson is not planning to leave tennis behind. In December, he qualified as a member of the U.S. team for the Maccabi Games in Israel this summer. The games are better known as the Jewish Olympics. \n"Playing in the Maccabi Games was a big goal of mine," Jacobson said. "The opportunity to play in world games and get that experience is something I have been working for."\nJacobson also plans to travel to France for nine weeks to work on training for a professional tennis career -- Jacobson's largest goal. Hydinger said reaching that goal isn't out of reach.\n"Paul is a student of the game and an extremely hard worker," Hydinger said. "He has accepted many challenges, and he always gives it all he has. He has a tremendous opportunity to exceed at a higher level"

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