Tennis prepares for victories in the Big 12

Kristin Peterson

Starting off the season after a long break from the sport of tennis can prove challenging. Conditioning, mental focus and acclimation to the game take time to re-build, especially in Iowa weather.

The ISU tennis team had its first dual victory this weekend against Stetson — proof that it is starting to get back in the game.

The Cyclones, now 1-3, have yet to face any conference rivals but coach Armando Espinosa said that’s all part of their preparation for Big 12 — getting the experience before the big matches and adjusting to outdoor play.

The team was defeated again on Sunday against Florida Gulf Coast, but the Cyclones were not discouraged.

“Florida Gulf Coast came out and never let go; they wanted the points and they hustled and they did everything in their power to win the point, and that made the difference. We came out and we fought hard and it could have gone either way,” Espinosa said, after many close matches went into third sets. “Could have been a victory for us but it just didn’t go that way. ”

Clear skies and mild weather brought Iowa State’s first victory against Stetson. However, the weather once again became a factor as Iowa State, which still has to practice indoors, struggled with wind and weather against Florida Gulf Coast.

“The weather conditions probably had something to do with it; there was a lot of wind on Sunday and the girls we played against usually practice in this kind of weather or are used to it,” said Caroline Hauge Andersen.

The team continues to try to get used to the conditions that indoor play cannot offer before the Big 12 schedule begins when it will host outdoor events of its own.

“It was a little hard transitioning from inside to outside but I think playing this weekend is just going to help us for the next couple weekends outside and then obviously the conference,” said senior Jenna Langhorst. “I think we were just not used to the wind conditions so I think that it is something that will help us later.”

Preparation continues this weekend when the team holds two more matches and faces their first ranked team, UNLV.

This match should give the Cyclones a taste of what the Big 12 will bring and tell them how much more preparation would be necessary for a winning season.

“[This weekend] will again be preparing us for the Big 12; I believe 8 of the 10 teams in the Big 12 are ranked so it will be good for us to play against that level of competition,” Espinosa said.

With conditioning, practice, match play, and some outdoor play, the Cyclones hope they will be ready to face what the Big 12 and its powerhouse teams have to offer.