Iowa State returns home, sweeps two opponents

Max Dible

Iowa State remained perfect at home on the season, holding on against both Bradley and South Dakota Friday in Ames.

The ISU tennis team (8-4, 0-0 Big 12) bounced back after a rough weekend in Minneapolis that saw Iowa State get swept by Minnesota and Marshall respectively.

The Cyclones countered with two sweeps of their own at Ames Raquet and Fitness Friday, despite the absence of freshman and No. 2 singles player Samantha Budai.

Budai participated in the first doubles match against Bradley (1-6, 0-0 Missouri Valley Conference), but was sidelined the rest of the day due to tendonitis in her knees.

Junior Ksenia Pronina teamed up with Budai for an 8-5 victory at No. 1 doubles, while junior Meghan Cassens and sophomore Ana Gasparovic won at No. 2 doubles, 8-3.

Junior Caroline Andersen and senior Emma Waites completed the doubles sweep for the Cyclones with an 8-6 victory of their own.

The open spot in the singles lineup left by Budai was filled by freshman Talisha Merchiers, making her first singles start of the team season. Merchiers held down the No. 5 position, winning in impressive fashion, 6-0, 6-0.

Cassens, normally the No. 3 player, was elevated to the No. 2 spot due to the lineup changes. She rose to the challenge, handling Ariel Dechter with relative ease, 6-0, 6-3.

Senior Emma Waites played up two spots at No. 4 singles, earning a 6-2, 6-0 victory against Sarah Rodefeld.

The closest match of the first meet was Gasparovic versus Ashley Thai of Bradley at No. 4 singles. Gasparovic won the first set 6-2, and held off a push by Thai in the second set, completing the win, 6-2, 7-6.

After its initial 7-0 victory, Iowa State received a couple hours of respite before taking to the court again, this time against South Dakota (2-3, 0-0 Summit League).

The Cyclones finished the doubles format unblemished for the second time on the day, despite the lineup being turned on its head.

Cassens and Gasparovic played at the No. 1 position up from the No. 2 slot, while there were two new pairings that included freshman Lydia Green and Andersen at No. 2, and Pronina and Waites at No. 3 doubles.

Pronina was dominant at No. 1 singles, breezing by Rymma Maslova in straight sets, 6-0, 6-0.

Cassens had a hard fight at the No. 2 spot, but held on to defeat Millica Pavlovic, 6-2, 6-2.

Waites and Merchiers each went three sets at No. 4 and No. 5 singles respectively.

Waites held on versus Yuliya Sedenko, 6-3, 3-6, 1-0 (8), while Merchiers was able to fend off Yamini Redi, 4-6, 6-2, 1-0 (4).

Green finished off the four-hour contest in a heated battle with Michelle Elkin that ended, 6-4, 6-0.

The Cyclones are back in action Friday, Mar. 7 when they will square off with the Drake Bulldogs at Ames Racquet and Fitness. Matches will begin at 5 p.m.