Confident ISU tennis team to host TCU and Texas Tech in last home meets of season


Photo: Liz Ulrichson/Iowa State Daily

Emma Waites, is ready to return the ball during her singles match against Oklahoma State on Sunday, April 7, 2013, at the Forker Tennis Courts.

Max Dible

The ISU tennis team will be in search of a victory for the first time in Big 12 play this weekend as conference foes Texas Christian University and Texas Tech University travel to Ames Racquet & Fitness for meets March 28 and 30, respectively.

The Cyclones (8-9, 0-4 Big 12) have dropped five meets in a row heading into the weekend, all against ranked opponents. Nothing will change for the squad as TCU holds the 32nd spot in the nation while Texas Tech is ranked 57th.

Iowa State started off the season on a hot streak, but the level of competition has risen considerably since conference play began, which ISU coach Armando Espinosa said has exposed some of his team’s flaws.

“We need to be a bit fitter, so we are working on that,” Espinosa said. “We also need to be more patient and have a smarter shot selection.”

Espinosa said that playing better opponents can change the nature of a player’s game.

“Sometimes when you are playing a ranked opponent, you feel like you need to make bigger shots and you take away from what your true game is,” Espinosa said. “You go out there and try to paint the lines and it does not work, and suddenly you are giving them points for free. You cannot do that against a good team.”

Iowa State struggled to play its game in Texas last weekend, losing to both Baylor and Texas, each by a score of 7-0.

Freshman Talisa Merchiers lost both matches of the weekend but won the most games of any ISU player. She said that despite the five consecutive losses, positive attitudes and perspectives still prevail at practice.

“We still have the mentality to beat every team,” Merchiers said. “We do not think before the match that we are going to lose. I know what the level [of play] is, and I am just going to fight for every point.”

Senior Emma Waites may have the most incentive to help turn things around as this weekend’s matches will be the final of her four-year career in Ames.

“It is hitting me as of right now,” Waites said. “This season has gone by really fast and it is crazy that these are our last home matches, but it has been exciting. I am just ready to play here and leave it all out here.”

Waites and the rest of the Cyclones will be afforded the opportunity to do just that at 3 p.m. March 28 against TCU. Iowa State will have March 29 off but will return to Ames Racquet & Fitness at 11 a.m. March 30 to take on Texas Tech.