Tennis team heads to final tournament of fall season

Mark Schafer

Through the first four tennis tournaments of the fall season, Iowa State has not fielded a full squad at any of them.

“We broke the team up, first, based off experience for the first tournament since we went up against tougher competition up in Minnesota,” said coach Armando Espinosa. “A couple weeks ago, we were able to have a couple students represent us at the ITA regionals, so they did that while the majority of the team was down in Kansas.”

Now, for the first time all season, the ISU tennis team will play its first tournament as a whole outside of practice in its final tournament of the fall season — the Western Michigan Super Challenge in Kalamazoo, Mich.

This weekend’s tournament will come after a successful Kansas tournament, Espinosa said.

“The girls are coming off one of the best tournaments of the year in Kansas, so hopefully we will be able to gain momentum off that and use it at Western Michigan,” Espinosa said. “It’s the time of the year where you would like to see improvement from everyone.”

Espinosa said this weekend’s tournament also will have some tougher competition than in weeks past.

“It will be a good marker on how we have improved over the fall,” Espinosa said. “This tournament is longer than most, so ideally, we will see if the players who were successful in earlier tournaments can keep up their success.”

One of the players who made the tournament at Kansas a success was freshman Meghan Cassens, who won her bracket in singles play.

Cassens was the only player to win her bracket at Kansas, but she said that focusing on everyone and improving are still important parts when it comes to preparing for the upcoming tournament.

“The win was a nice accomplishment, but the season didn’t end, it’s just beginning,” Cassens said. “During practice, we still have focused on parts of our game that needs work and also as a team in areas that need improvement.”

Part of the areas that need improvement is the doubles game, Espinosa said.

“We are still working out a few different doubles partner combinations,” Espinosa said. “That was an area where, coming out of Kansas and the [ITA] regionals, we felt like we could improve. It’s about finding a combination that works and has similar game play, so that they can execute the game plan.”

Part of working on the doubles will be mixing up some partnerships, so by the time the players play in January, they will have worked with their partner before.

“For a doubles partner, you want to have chemistry, that way if you miss a shot then you can trust your partner to cover for you, or to cover for them if they miss a shot,” said senior Maria Fernanda Macedo. “That is something that comes from playing matches together.”

The ISU tennis team will play in the Western Michigan University Super Challenge this Friday through Monday.