ISU tennis heads to Cougar Classic to end fall season

Courtney Giese

The ISU tennis team will be in Houston this weekend to finish up the fall season at the Cougar Classic.

Ana Gasparovic, Samantha Budai, Ksenia Pronina and Emma Waites will be competing at the tournament with each player participating in singles and doubles matches.

The double pairings for this tournament will be Gasparovic and Budai as a duo and Pronina and Waites as the other pair. This last tournament of the fall will be used to help the players determine what they have improved and what still needs to be worked on to get them ready for the spring competition.

“It is going to be important since we will see Texas Tech, Kansas and Baylor, which are three teams that are in our conference,” said ISU coach Armando Espinosa. “So it will be nice to see how we are stacking against them.”

This week, the team has been concentrating on the shot tolerance since it is practicing indoors now. The ball comes a lot faster inside, but the team will be playing outside in Houston this weekend, making the points feel longer.

Being outdoors requires more thought about different weather elements when playing the point, so the Cyclones have also been working on conditioning and running so that the players are prepared for those longer rounds.

“We have to make sure we don’t get as impatient as we have in the past,” Espinosa said in reference to the slower ball movement from the wind.

In comparison to Regionals, this tournament might not be as demanding. However, the team is still expecting tough competition. The top bracket may be more difficult than the lower ones, but Espinosa recognizes all of the teams going to the event are quality teams with tough competitors.

Sophomore Gasparovic worked throughout the summer to improve, and this weekend, she hopes will help her put everything from the summer and the fall season out on the court. It will then be time to focus on what can improve even more before the spring season.

The chance to end the fall season on a big stage is an opportunity Gasparovic feels she is ready for.

“I’ve never been to Houston, so I am excited to see the city and play in the tournament,” Gasparovic said.

The tournament will go from Friday until Sunday.