TENNIS: No victories in Virginia for Iowa State

Dan Tracy —

Iowa State made its second trip of the season out east this weekend for two matches against two nationally ranked opponents in No. 66 Old Dominion and No. 27 Virginia Commonwealth.

Saturday’s showdown with Old Dominion could have gone in the Cyclones’ favor, but losses in a tiebreaker and a third set at No. 4 singles cost the team a 5–2 loss. The Cyclones lost the doubles point with a pair of 8–4 losses by junior Erin Karonis and freshman Jenna Langhorst and the sophomore tandem of Tessa Lang and Maria Macedo. Senior Alyssa Palen and junior Liza Wischer earned the team’s lone doubles victory with a 8–4 victory over the pair of Marija Citic and Juliana Pires.

After losing the doubles point, Karonis and Macedo dropped their singles matches. Down 3–0, Lang lost a tiebreaker 10–8 in the first set to Irina Dementyeva and lost the second set to seal the victory for Old Dominion. Langhorst also neared a victory as she forced a third set against Diana Ivanova before falling 7–5, 2–6, 6–1. Sophomore Marie-Christine Chartier and Wischer earned singles victories for the Cyclones.

“Scheduling Old Dominion was good,” said coach Armando Espinosa. “We did have a lot of chances, we just need to get better at taking that next step against the tough competition.”

In Sunday’s match against VCU, the Cyclones struggled with only one singles victory from Karonis en route to a 6–1 defeat. Karonis was leading Ana Bara 3–6, 5–0 before Bara retired due to injury, awarding the victory to Karonis. Macedo forced tiebreakers in doubles along with Lang and in singles but lost 9–8 (8–6) in doubles and 7–5, 7–6 (7–4) in singles.

“VCU was by far the best team we’ve played so far,” Espinosa said. “Even though we are a big hitting team, they put a lot of pressure on us, so they made us look like we couldn’t hit the ball.”

The two defeats drop the Cyclones to 5–5 on the season with only two non-conference matches remaining on March 18, when they will host Cleveland State and the University of South Dakota. In the meantime, the team will begin Big 12 Conference play Saturday with a trip down to Waco, Texas, to square off against the No. 5-ranked Baylor Bears.