Seniors helped get tennis program on track


Photo: Tim Reuter/Iowa State Daily

Junior Tessa Lang serves the ball during the match against Texas A&M on Friday, April 15. Lang won her match against A&M’s Christi Liles, while Iowa State lost overall with a final score of 3-4.

Michael Schmitt

While the ISU senior tennis players won’t be leaving anything on the court this weekend, they will be leaving behind a legacy.

That legacy will be as a group of players that turned the ISU tennis program around.

“Our freshman year, we hadn’t won any conference matches in years,” said senior Tessa Lang. “But we finally beat Kansas State and it was inside, it was so close, 4-3, and it was like the most exciting match.

“Everyone was crying after it, it was a big turning point, I think, for our tennis team now, that was maybe one of the best moments.”

Seniors Lang, Maria Fernanda Macedo and Marie-Christine Chartier all competed in that match for the Cyclones back in 2009. It was the team’s first Big 12 win of the season and Macedo’s first Big 12 win in singles.

Fellow senior Chelsea Loprinzis didn’t contribute to the win in the box score, but she has been a contributor in practice by helping the other players improve.

The seniors will take on Kansas State on Friday at 2 p.m. and Kansas on Sunday at noon for their last two home meets of their ISU careers.

Loprinzi said she wants to be remembered for just “sticking with tennis the whole four years and not giving up on it.”

Ever since that class of players started their careers at Iowa State, the team has improved.

Before they came to Iowa State, the team hadn’t won a conference meet since 2002. In their four years here, the Cyclone seniors have won five Big 12 meets and they still have four chances left this season to win more.

And all three current seniors who competed in that meet as freshmen listed it as one of their most memorable experiences for the team.

But the players had a hard time trying to think of one specific favorite memory.

“All the trips we’ve taken like Hawaii, we’ve had a couple trips that were really fun,” Chartier said. “It’s like little things, just a team dinner here that’s super fun, or one match that’s really awesome, it’s hard to pick.”

Looking back on their four years, the seniors know there are plenty of things they will miss.

“I’m going to miss the teammates and team practices probably the most,” Lang said. “I love working towards competition and how in competition we all can work as a team, and really support each other, and we’ve gotten a lot better at that. I’m going to miss my teammates the most.”

Along with teammates and everything, the players also said they would miss competing.

Being a student-athlete is time-consuming, but does have some benefits.

“It keeps us busy but we’ve had a lot of rewards from it,” Macedo said. “It helps to get a job, the fact that we can work in a team helps a lot. Leadership, time management, [there are] so many things that you double up with being a student-athlete.”

While three of the seniors will be remembered in the record books, they want to be thought of as contributing more than just wins.

“Just a good team member who always fought really hard to win my matches and supported my teammates,” Chartier said of how she wants to be remembered.

They also want to leave a lasting impression on the younger players in the tennis program.

“I want to be remembered as just a really positive influence on everybody, I hope that no matter who is on the court, they appreciate anything I bring,” Lang said. “So I just hope everyone thinks of me as a positive impact on the tennis court.”