ISU tennis team plays fourth straight ranked opponent

Michael Schmitt

The ISU tennis team will face its fourth- and fifth-ranked opponents in a row this weekend when it will face Oklahoma and Oklahoma State.

The worst thing for the Cyclones (3-12, 0-2 Big 12) is the streak of matches against ranked opponents will continue against Missouri and possibly Kansas State in a few weeks after the upcoming matches.

“We’re playing two teams that are top 40 in the country so we’re going to have good competition,” said assistant coach Rod Puebla. “Oklahoma is going to be tough; they were ranked at the beginning top 20, and Oklahoma State wasn’t ranked, but now they’re top 50 in the country. We just need to make sure we can improve our doubles, that’s going to be huge; that’s going to be key.”

Iowa State will first play No. 44 Oklahoma (7-8, 2-1) at 4 p.m. Friday in Norman, Okla.

The Sooners come in with a two-match losing streak after losing to College of Charleston and Kansas State. The Cyclones also lost to College of Charleston earlier in the season.

The Sooners excel in doubles play with the No. 44 ranked team of Marie-Pier Huet and Whitney Ritchie. The duo is 12-3 in doubles this season.

Doubles play has been a season-long struggle for the Cyclones, who have only won the doubles point in two out of 15 matches.

“We have to go out there and believe in ourselves and believe that we can win,” Puebla said. “We have to get over the hump that we can win one doubles point and we’ll be fine.”

On Saturday, the Cyclones will take on the No. 41 Cowgirls (8-3, 2-0). Oklahoma State has matched its win total from last season already with eight wins and has the opportunity to add more in conference play.

The Cowgirls have played one of the same opponents as the Cyclones, defeating Iowa 5-2. Iowa State lost to Iowa 4-3.

“We have a good shot, they’re not as highly ranked as Texas and Texas A&M so it should be a lot more interesting,” said freshman Meghan Cassens.

The Cyclones bring a four-match losing streak into the weekend, and if they’re going to end it they will have to play better in doubles than they have so far this season.

“We’re doing a better job as a team in singles but we have a lot of work to do in doubles,” Puebla said. “We have to make sure we can become a team on the court, and we’re going to see the results after that.”