ISU tennis falls to TCU and Texas Tech in final meets in Ames

Freshman Talisa Merchiers returns a serve in game two of the second set of her singles women’s match against Texas Tech at the Cyclones tennis meet on March 30. 

Max Dible

Iowa State made a change of venue on March 30 and headed to Forker Hall on campus to square off against No. 57 Texas Tech in the final home meet of the season.

The fresh air was not enough to put the ISU tennis team (8-11, 0-6 Big 12) over the top as the Cyclones fell to Texas Tech (13-7, 3-3 Big 12) by a score of 6-1.

It was Iowa State’s seventh consecutive loss and second home defeat in a row. The Cyclones were beaten 5-2 by TCU on March 28 at Ames Racquet and Fitness.

Texas Tech swept the doubles format, winning all three matches and grabbing an early 1-0 lead.

Freshman and No. 2 singles player Samantha Budai scored the one ISU point on the day, bullying her way to victory against Rashmi Teitumbde, 6-4, 6-3.

“Sammy played a great player,” said ISU coach Armando Espinosa. “I felt like Sammy was a bit more patient. She has got a lot of ability to hit the ball fast and quick, but when you play outdoors it is not about that. Today was the first time that I saw her really playing to her ability.”

Espinosa said he hoped this match would be a turning point for Budai in the Big 12 as she has missed matches due to injury and has struggled recently when she has been in the lineup.

Freshman Talisa Merchiers won her second Big 12 match of the season on Friday versus TCU and gave another strong effort Sunday against Tech at the No. 6 position, ultimately losing to Samantha Czarniak, 6-4, 6-4.

The rest of the ISU players were defeated in straight sets by their TCU counterparts. Junior Ksenia Pronina lost the closest of the matches to Kenna Kilgo at No. 1 singles, 6-3, 6-2.

Iowa State played a banged up TCU team to a closer result on Friday, but junior Meghan Cassens said it may have helped that the match was indoors.

Espinosa said that the loss to TCU Friday was one of the more disappointing of the season because of how close the Cyclones were to claiming their first Big 12 win of the year.

“We had a lot of opportunities against TCU,” Espinosa said. “I felt like in singles … we were going to have the [meet], but it escaped from us.”

The Cyclones have three more chances to get a Big 12 win before the conference tournament in late April.

Next up on the docket for Iowa State is No. 23 Oklahoma State. The meet will take place at 5 p.m. on April 4 in Stillwater, Oklahoma.