Iowa State tennis migrates south for second time in a month


Jen Hao Wong/Iowa State Daily

Freshman Samantha Budai attacks the ball during Iowa State’s 7-0 defeat of North Dakota on Jan. 31 at Ames Racquet and Fitness Center.

Max Dible

The ISU tennis team returns to Florida this weekend for consecutive showdowns with Florida Atlantic on Saturday in Miami and Bethune-Cookman on Sunday in Daytona Beach.

The Cyclones opened the team season in Florida during mid-January with a 6-1 loss to Florida Gulf Coast. ISU coach Armando Espinosa hopes this time around the Cyclones will offer a more compelling performance.

“We played that tournament after coming back from break,” Espinosa said. “We’re playing a lot better now.”

The primary concern for the Cyclones is dealing with the weather, Espinosa said. This will also be the first time Iowa State has played outdoors since losing to FGCU in January.

“We are used to seeing the ball travel a lot faster, so hopefully we can adjust to the conditions,” Espinosa said. “It’s going to be different, dealing with the sun and the heat.”

Freshman and No. 2 singles player Samantha Budai, who hasn’t lost a singles or doubles match since the team’s last jaunt to Florida, said the biggest obstacle she expects is the wind.

Yet, the wind won’t be the only problem facing Budai this weekend, as she is also dealing with a nagging shoulder injury.

“It is something like tendonitis,” Budai said. “I don’t know what it is. It’s been bugging me for a while, so I’ve been getting treatment. It’s feeling a little better now.”

Senior Emma Waites has also been struggling with a shoulder problem, and because of that has been splitting time at the No. 3 doubles position with freshman Lydia Green.

This is the second weekend in a row that Iowa State finds itself on a road trip, but Budai said she is excited for this one. The day off between meets may provide some respite for a hurting Cyclone team.

“We’re going to train,” Budai said. “But, I think we’ll hit the beach, which will be nice.”

Junior and No. 3 singles player Meghan Cassens doesn’t share Budai’s exact perspective.

“I never really look forward to going to Florida because I feel more comfortable playing inside with no wind or anything else affecting my game,” Cassens said. “But we need to appreciate the opportunity to go play [in nice weather].

Iowa State will square off with Florida Atlantic on Feb. 14 at 12 p.m., then head to Daytona Beach to meet Bethune-Cookman Feb. 16 at 10 a.m.