Cyclones struggle early against rival Hawkeyes

Tennis+player+Ksenia+Pronina%2C+sophomore%2C+tosses+the+ball+up+for+serve+against+Iowa+on+Saturday%2C+Jan.+26%2C+at+Ames+Racquet+%26amp%3B+Fitness.+The+Cyclones+lost+the+meet+6-1.%0A

Tennis player Ksenia Pronina, sophomore, tosses the ball up for serve against Iowa on Saturday, Jan. 26, at Ames Racquet & Fitness. The Cyclones lost the meet 6-1.

Isaac Copley

The ISU tennis team struggled in its spring season home opener on Saturday, losing to Iowa in the Cy-Hawk rivalry series by a score of 6-1.

Iowa controlled the meet early, winning two of the three doubles matches.

The Hawkeyes rattled off a strong performance in the singles matches as well, taking control of every match by winning the first set in all six.

“We felt rushed as they came out and they were ready,” said ISU coach Armando Espinosa, who was critical of his team’s slow start. “The first sets happened so fast, and we settled down and started competing better and continued to play smarter tennis later in the matches.  

“We fell short a little bit; it could’ve been a 4-3 match, but it didn’t happen and Iowa was the better team today,” Espinosa said.

Ksenia Pronina, the Cyclones’ No. 1 singles and doubles player, lost both of her matches, as did No. 2 singles player, Simona Cacciuttolo.

“I think it was a tough match for everyone; they came out really strong, they hit good approaches and put us on defense from the beginning,” Pronina said after her first meet of the spring season. “We need to get a little quicker and sooner to the ball so we can play less defensive.”

Despite losing the doubles point in the meet, Jenna Langhorst and Emma Waites won the No. 3 doubles match 8-3. Langhorst followed her doubles victory with a convincing three-set comeback win.

“I just wanted to come out here my senior year against an in-state rival, and I really wanted to go out with a bang,” Langhorst said. “I really wanted to win, and I fought really hard.”

Espinosa was impressed with Langhorst’s play.

“I couldn’t be happier for her; senior year, against a big in-state rival, it’s great to see her fight through the first set,” Espinosa said. “She stuck with it, and she knew what she needed to do.”

Espinosa also expressed the need for improvement in taking advantage of opportunities and controlling matches.

“We need to get a little bit quicker,” Espinosa said. “Iowa just punished us with the short balls, and we just need to get better with those; any chance we have to control a point we need to jump on that opportunity.”