Cyclone Tennis ready for Big 12 Championships


Jacob Rice

Thasaporn Naklo talks with her doubles partner Christin Hsieh in the Cyclones’ match against the Oklahoma Sooners April 8, 2022.

Andrew Harrington

The Iowa State tennis team is entering the Big 12 Championship with one goal in mind: winning a conference title.

Iowa State head coach Boomer Saia said that his team has made its case for why it is an NCAA Tournament team, and now all the team can do is boost its stock.

“Honestly, we have everything to gain from this tournament, and so I think we’re looking at it as an unbelievable opportunity to go try to win a Big 12 Championship,” Saia said.

The Cyclones are currently 15-5 with a 4-5 record in Big 12 play.

No. 7 seed Iowa State will first face off against No. 10 seed West Virginia 10 a.m. Thursday. These two teams matched up on Sunday for their final match of the regular season. Iowa State came away with a 6-1 win in this match.

Saia said that having just played against West Virginia plays as a big advantage for his team.

“We know exactly what we’re getting into,” Saia said. “West Virginia is extremely talented, and so we are very careful to treat them with the utmost respect of like we have got to bring our best and make sure we are ready to go.”

Thasaporn Naklo agreed with the sentiments of Saia, saying that it is a major advantage having just faced off against West Virginia.

“That was the first match that we won at home, so it could help a lot,” Naklo said. “When I win more matches, I have more confidence.”

Naklo earned wins in both No. 1 doubles and singles in the match against West Virginia and is pursuing another strong performance.

“Last weekend we also played Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, and we know that we can play with any team,” Naklo said. “The Big 12 [Championships] will be challenging but exciting for us.”

Overall, West Virginia finished the season with a 7-16 total record and were 0-9 in Big 12 play. A win over the Mountaineers would vault the Cyclones into a quarterfinals matchup against No. 3 seed Texas on Friday.

Saia said that his team is not looking ahead, just focusing on the task at hand, which is West Virginia on Thursday.

Sophomore Chie Kezuka feels that it is important for the team to build up confidence to play their best tennis.

“I think I’m trying to not be too scared to play,” Kezuka said. “I try to find happiness playing together with the teammate.”

The match against West Virginia begins at 10 a.m. Thursday in Fort Worth, Texas, where the entirety of the tournament will be played.