ISU women’s tennis prepares for spring competion

TENNIS: Cyclones end regular season with pair of losses

TENNIS: Cyclones end regular season with pair of losses

Dan Martin

The ISU women’s tennis team is back on the courts this weekend as they kick off the spring season against Arizona State  on Friday, then Mesa Community College on Saturday.

A lot has happened in the almost three months since the team competed in the Western Michigan Invitational to end the fall season.

Assistant coach Chris Williams left the team in December to take an assistant coaching job with the Air Force Academy’s tennis team. The Cyclones recently brought in Rodrigo Puebla as the new assistant coach. The midseason timing of the change is tough, but coach Armando Espinosa and the players are excited to be working with Puebla.

“Obviously it’s tough to replace Chris, he was a very intricate part of the team,” Espinosa said. “I’ve known Rodrigo for a long time now, he was a head coach at the University of North Florida, he’s gonna bring a lot of experience and knowledge to the team. We are very excited and very happy to have him. We’ll see what he can do.”

Sophomore Simona Cacciuttolo echoed her coach’s sentiments about having a new coach to learn from.

“It was kind of weird because we liked Chris, but we are also excited the new coach is here,” Cacciuttolo said. “Practice is getting better, and he’s a good coach.”

Puebla had to get straight to work once he got to Iowa State. He arrived only a few weeks before the scheduled spring season opener against Arizona State. It is a match Espinosa and the team say they are excited for.

“We’ve been practicing two hours and conditioning one hour a day since we got back from break,” Cacciuttolo said. “I am very excited to start the season. I like to play and try to win.”

Espinosa said No. 20 Arizona State is a tough opponent that will test the players and coaches, and give a good indication of where they are currently at.

“It’s going to be very very difficult,” Espinosa said. “They are a great team and are very well coached. It will be good for us to see exactly where we are against one of the nation’s best teams out there. So we’ll see how we can fare out with them, we view as a chance to see where we are at.”

The team leaves at 5 a.m. Thursday to head to Tempe, Ariz. where the matches will begin  at 4:30 p.m. Friday.

The team will also play Mesa Community College on Saturday starting at 5 p.m.