TENNIS: Hot to cold conditions throw team off-balance

Dan Tracy —

It’s no coincidence that the ISU womens’ tennis team is more comfortable playing indoors with the climate affecting the schools of the Big 12 North. On their mid-winter trip to Jacksonville, Fla., last weekend, the Cyclones trounced the UTEP Miners 6-1 in 70 degree weather on Friday, but then fell to North Florida 7-0 under chilly conditions Sunday. After making the adjustment to playing outdoors last weekend, the team is switching gears this week and focusing back on indoor competition.

“[This week has] really been about trying to get back to playing indoors,” coach Armando Espinosa said. “I think they are getting their rhythm back and whatever the line-up is we need to be able to go out there and compete.”

The Cyclones will go from their longest road trip to their shortest this weekend when they head to Des Moines for match-ups with Drake on Friday and the University of Illinois-Chicago on Saturday.

Junior Liza Wischer racked up the most victories last weekend with a No. 6 singles win over UTEP and two doubles wins with senior Alyssa Palen.

“[The team has] been practicing really well lately so I think we’ll be ready for any competition,” Wischer said.

The warm temperatures were familiar for sophomore Maria Fernanda Macedo, a Mexico City, Mexico, native, last Friday, but on Sunday, the team fell victim to the windy and rainy conditions.

“I know it was the same conditions for both of us [her opponent and herself] but I couldn’t even feel my hands,” Macedo said. “It was freezing.”

Macedo will return to the Roger Knapp Tennis Center where she won all four of her singles matches and won the ‘A’ Singles title at the Drake Invitational in September.

The Cyclones’ in-state rival Drake Bulldogs already got a look at two Big 12 teams in their first two dual matches of the season, 6-1 losses against Kansas and Kansas State. Last season, the Cyclones won 6-1 over the Bulldogs in their first non-conference match of the season.

“Drake’s a tricky team, they can come out and be a very good team but like last year if we can go out and take care of business hopefully we can give them their third straight loss against the Big 12,” Espinosa said. TThe Cyclones will square off against one of the Midwest’s most dominant teams — the University of Illinois-Chicago (UIC). The 3-1 Flames are coming off wins over Northern Illinois and Wisconsin.

“UIC is a tough team no matter how you look at it,” Espinosa said. “They are a seasoned team, an experienced team and they win their conference [Horizon League] every year.”

The Flames won 13 straight Horizon League Championships.

The Cyclones will take to the court on 5 p.m. Friday against Drake and then take on UIC at 9 a.m. Saturday.