Cyclones drop first two conference matches

Clint Cole

The ISU tennis team started conference play this weekend with losses to Oklahoma State and No. 19 Oklahoma.

They were defeated by Oklahoma State (4-7, 1-0 Big 12) 5-2 and Oklahoma (11-2, 3-0 Big 12) 6-1.

Junior Maria Macedo defeated Sasha Belova from Oklahoma State 6-0, 6-4 at the No. 2 spot Friday.

“She’s been pretty solid all year,” said ISU coach Armando Espinosa. “The fact that she was able to close the match against Oklahoma State that fast on Friday was a good momentum boost at that point. Unfortunately, we were not able to capitalize on it.”

That was the Cyclones’ only singles win against the Cowgirls. Senior co-captain Erin Karonis was defeated by Nataliya Shatkovskaya in a long match 7-5, 4-6, 6-1.

The Cyclones did capture two doubles victories against the Cowgirls. Junior Tessa Lang and Macedo defeated Kanyapat Narattana and Shatkovskaya in a 9-7 decision. Karonis and sophomore Simona Cacciuttolo defeated Belova and Meghoufel in a 9-7 decision and also the tiebreaker in a 10-8 decision.

“We’ve won a lot of doubles points lately,” Espinosa said. “It came down to the wire, and we were just a little bit tougher than they were.”

Espinosa said that they had the momentum after winning the No. 1 doubles match.

The weather was chilly and breezy Saturday when the Cyclones took on Oklahoma. This was the Cyclones’ first home match outdoors this season.

“It’s kind of a neutralizer for everybody,” Espinosa said. “Unfortunately it didn’t work that way. They were a lot more prepared than we were playing outdoors.”

Karonis defeated Ana-Maria Constantinescu from Oklahoma 6-2, 6-2 at No. 1. This was the Cyclones’ only victory of the day.

Espinosa said she was more determined to win because she has played Constantinescu every year she has been at Iowa State.

“I thought that she believed a little bit more that she could win and certainly play to that level and she did,” Espinosa said.

The Cyclones dropped all three doubles sets, 8-7, 8-5 and 8-0. In the No. 1 match, Espinosa said they were down quite a bit and fought their way back, and it came down to a tiebreaker.

“We had our chances, we just didn’t finish there,” Espinosa said.

The Cyclones have two Big 12 road meets this week: at Missouri on Friday and at Colorado on Sunday. The team’s next home meet is April 1 against Kansas.