Tennis team prepares for first tournament of 2012

Mike Schmitt

The ISU tennis team will travel to Fort Myers, Fla., on Friday to participate in the Florida Gulf Coast Invitational. The team is coming off of an encouraging fall season where it had some successful tournaments.

Marie-Christine Chartier and Nikki Reber won a doubles title at the Gopher Invitational. At the UNI Invitational, Maria Macedo won the Platinum singles bracket while Meghan Cassens and Ksenia Pronina won a doubles bracket.

Coach Armando Espinosa said the team has mostly focused on maintaining its playing rhythm between November and the upcoming meet. The team has only had one practice so far this month and it has been up to the girls to sharpen their skills during the Thanksgiving and holiday breaks.

“We’re just looking at getting more matches under our belts, as well as solidifying our singles and doubles lineups,” Espinosa said.

The tournament this weekend should help give Espinosa an idea of who the top six players will be for start of the season. Espinosa said there has been uncertainty about who the top six players are because of injuries.

Along with Iowa State, the other teams participating in the tournament are Akron, Florida Atlantic, Florida Gulf Coast, Miami, North Florida, Northwestern State and Stephen F. Austin.

The team will take eight of its players, with each one getting to play one match of singles and one match of doubles during each of the three days of the tournament.

“As long as you take care of your side of the court and do everything you can, the wins will come,” Espinosa said.

Espinosa said that one of the goals of the season is for the team to be better than it was last year.

“I think our team is preparing really well,” said junior Jenna Langhorst. “Everyone is working really hard, so we should be more successful than we were last year.”

The invitational takes place from Saturday through Monday and the team hopes to have a good idea of their top six by the end of the tournament.