Doubles team features cross-court chemistry

Darrin Cline

It doesn’t take long to see the chemistry between Tessa Lang and Maria Fernanda Macedo. It has been the essence of their success as the premier doubles team on the ISU women’s tennis team.

Lang, a junior from Chippewa Falls, Wisc., and Macedo, a junior from Mexico City, have climbed the ranks of the Cyclone tennis program not only as singular talents, but also as a duo with the ability to compete with the best.

“They are both very aggressive players and pose an intimidating presence for their opponents,” said coach Armando Espinosa.

Just by looking at them, one may not perceive these Cyclone women as a dominating threat. With Lang standing 5 feet 8 inches tall and Macedo only 5 feet 7 inches, their less-than-ominous physical appearance is bolstered by an extensive tennis acumen that commonly features an attacking offense and a suffocating frontcourt style of play.

Despite being a top-tier team today, Lang and Macedo did not see instant success upon arriving on campus. They did not play a single competitive match together as freshmen, but the coaching staff decided on the pairing during Lang and Macedo’s second seasons, and it is a decision the coaches have not regretted.

“We have developed as a team and adapted to each other. We have fun and really enjoy playing together,” Macedo said.

Their ability to mesh created one of the greatest seasons ever by an ISU doubles team. As sophomores, Lang and Macedo set the school record for single-season Big 12 victories with seven and compiled an overall 19-12 record that included an eight-match winning streak.

“We get along and communicate well on the court, which is something a lot of doubles teams seem to struggle with,” Lang said. “We are always excited to play together.”

In Iowa State’s final meet of the fall season, the Western Michigan Super Challenge, Lang and Macedo displayed their talents against some of the nation’s elite teams.

After an opening-round loss to the Indiana Hoosiers, a match that Macedo and Lang said featured many missed opportunities, the dynamic duo cruised through the final two doubles rounds. Victories over Louisville’s Sarah Miller and Rebecca Shine and the favored DePaul duo of Selma Salkovic and Katarina Milinkovic proved just how deserving they were of being considered a top-notch doubles pair.

“When they play at the top and take care of business, it helps set the tone and gives the rest of our team a lot of momentum,” Espinosa said.

Communication and team chemistry is essential to the success of any team, and Lang and Macedo’s ever-growing experiences together are building these attributes.

“As long as we continue to do what we do and keep things simple, we can continue to improve,” Macedo said.