ISU tennis team swings past Panthers


Photo: Suhaib Tawil/Iowa State Daily

Simona Cacciuttolo gets ready to serve the ball at the match against Drake 5-2 on Friday, March 8, 2013, at Ames Racquet and Fitness.

Beau Berkley

The Cyclones came out swinging and did not stop until the final point.

The first point came quickly for Iowa State (7-10, 0-4 Big 12) after it won all three of the doubles matches en route to a 6-1 victory against Northern Iowa on Friday, March 29, 2013. Starting strong and setting the tempo has been a focal point for ISU coach Armando Espinosa.

“We came out, and we took care of business,” Espinosa said. “Just like good teams do.”

The points did not stop with doubles. Ellie Nixon, Emma Waites, Ana Gasparovic, Ksenia Pronina and Meghan Cassens all won their matches in two sets.

“It helps a lot when the girls are able to look around and see their teammates ahead in their matches,” Espinosa said. “It just helps everyone to relax a little bit.”

After losing the first set and going down 5-2 in the second set of her No. 1 singles match, senior Simona Cacciuttolo battled back and forced the match to a third set before losing the tiebreaker.

“I was down most of the match, and I started to get a little frustrated, but coach [Rodrigo] Puebla and I thought up a new strategy, and I came back in, and it worked,” Cacciuttolo said. “Unfortunately, I couldn’t get the win.”

Despite her singles loss, Cacciuttolo left with a positive outlook on the team’s victory.

“It was a good team win, and it helped us get some of our confidence back,” Cacciuttolo said. “It’s always good when you can come out and beat a team from in-state.”

The victory for the Cyclones against the Panthers came after two road losses against No. 24 Texas and No. 18 Texas Tech. The victory also solidified the third win for the team against an in-state opponent.

Earlier in the season, the Cyclones defeated Drake and Grand View.

“It’s always tough to play an in-state rival, but a win is a win,” Espinosa said. “Whenever you can get a 6-1 victory over an opponent, it’s a good day.”