ISU tennis team continues tough conference schedule


Photo:Zhenru Zhang/Iowa State Da

Cyclones Jenna Langhorst and Marie-Christine Chartier lost the first set during the match against University of Missouri – Kansas City on Friday, March 4 at Ames Racquet & Fitness Center.

Michael Schmitt

When fans think of a conference having eight teams ranked in a sport, they might think of the Big East in basketball or they might think it’s a typo.

It’s not.

The Big 12 has eight of its 10 teams ranked in the top 75 in Division I women’s tennis. According to in 2012, there are 320 Division I women’s tennis teams.

Of the eight Big 12 teams that are ranked, four of the teams are in the top 20 nationally in the Intercollegiate Tennis Association tennis rankings, which are used by the NCAA.

“We’re not going to have any easy matches from now,” said ISU assistant coach Rod Puebla. “It’s going to be tough for us to come out and be successful, but hopefully we can get a couple of wins in the Big 12.”

The Cyclones (3-12, 0-2 Big 12) faced two of the best teams in the conference this past weekend in No. 8 Texas and No. 16 Texas A&M. Texas is the highest-ranked team in the Big 12 and A&M is third-highest.

Iowa State lost both matches 6-1, but the players said they have been improving a lot as a team in singles play.

“We started competing better in singles and we need to work on doubles since we don’t win the doubles point,” said freshman Ksenia Pronina. “But in singles we get better and better.”

The coaching staff has been changing around the doubles teams this season to try and find the best combination.

“We’ve been struggling with the doubles point. We’ve only got the doubles point once or twice this season and we’re trying to get that doubles point because for our goal to try and beat some of the teams in the Big 12, we need to get it,” Puebla said. “We’re trying to find the pairs that can do that for us, and we’re going to give it another shot this weekend and see how it works.”

Puebla also said the main goal for practice for the rest of the season will be working on doubles. Besides doubles, the players also said they need to focus on serving.

“We need to work on our serves, making sure that we are able to get our first serves in and not double-faulting,” said freshman Meghan Cassens.

Also emphasized was the need to improve on the ability to close out matches.

“We have many chances to stay longer in the game and have closer matches.” Pronina said. “But then sometimes we don’t take the chance, and that’s what our opponents do better when they’re up, they close the game.”

The team will travel to Norman, Okla., on Friday to take on the Sooners and Stillwater, Okla., on Saturday to face off against Oklahoma State.