Cyclone tennis to face 12 NCAA qualifiers during spring season


Luke Lu

Iowa State tennis Head Coach Boomer Saia talks to the team during the historic 2020-21 season. 

Adarsh Tamma, Sports Reporter

Iowa State tennis will kick off their 2023 spring season in the Aloha State, as per the team’s new schedule.

The added slate of matches to the Cyclones’ schedule includes 12 opponents that qualified for the NCAA Tournament last season. Iowa State themselves made its second consecutive appearance on collegiate tennis’ biggest stage last year after finishing with a win-loss record of 16-7. They also posted an 11-0 start to the year, the best in program history, and recorded six shutouts along the way.

The schedule, which was announced on Nov. 17, sees Iowa State first travel to Hawaii to take part in the Hawaii Spring Invitational, where they will play in a series of “hidden dual” matches. These are supposed to be a “tune-up” type of match format that will simulate a dual match but with no official scoring.

Returning back to Iowa, the Cyclones will then play a couple of matches against both Drake and South Dakota in Des Moines. They will then travel on the road again after that, facing off against Auburn on Jan. 20.

The end of January sees Iowa State get to face off against NCAA qualifiers UCLA at the ITA Kickoff in Miami. The Bruins, who finished last season ranked No. 19 in the ITA’s collegiate team rankings, have four of their players listed in the ITA’s top 125 singles rankings from Nov. 16. They will then get to face either Miami or Florida International to conclude the weekend.

February will be kicked off by the Cyclones’ final set of non-conference matches. The start of the month will see Iowa State travel to Tennessee and face off against both the Memphis Tigers and Mississippi State before returning closer to home to take on Purdue and VCU. The dual matches against the Boilermakers and Rams will both be played at Life Time Fitness Center in Urbandale, Iowa, a site that will serve as one of two home courts throughout the spring season. They will also play at either Ames Fitness Center or Ames High School.

Another road trip will follow, as the Cyclones will travel east to take on Old Dominion in Norfolk, Virginia. The non-conference schedule will be concluded on Feb. 24 against in-state rivals Iowa in Iowa City. The Cyclones have won the last three meetings in the CyHawk matchup, including blanking Hawkeyes 4-0 in last year’s dual match.

The conference schedule will start on March 10, when Iowa State will face off against Kansas in Ames. The rest of March and April will see the Cyclones take on six NCAA qualifiers from last season. Texas and Oklahoma, both of whom contested last year’s national championship, will host the Cyclones March 24 and March 31, respectively, with matches against Baylor and Oklahoma State sandwiched in between.

 The Bears have become perennial contenders in recent years for NCAA qualifying, with the program reaching a high point in 2015 after finishing second in the NCAA Tournament to champions UCLA.

The Cowgirls were the No. 12 seeds at the 2022 NCAA Championships, falling in the Super Regionals to No. 5 Virginia 4-1. They beat the Cyclones in Stillwater by a close 4-3 scoreline. In fact, Iowa State lost to all four of these schools last season for their only dual match losses during the regular season.

The home slate will also consist of matches against Kansas State on March 12, TCU on April 14, and a regular-season finale against Texas Tech on April 16. The Red Raiders beat the Cyclones on their home court 4-2 last year, which was part of a four-match winning streak at the time.

The postseason will include the Big 12 Championships, hosted in Lawrence, Kansas, from April 20-23. May means NCAA Championships time, with the Cyclones’ first and second-round sites to be announced. Further rounds will follow in the proceeding weeks, with the semifinals and finals set to be played in Lake Nona, Florida from May 17-20.

 The individual singles and doubles championships are to be played the week after at the same site. The Cyclones, who return their full roster from last season, will have three players looking to make a return trip to the tournament. Thasaporn Naklo became the first Iowa State player to qualify for the singles championship last season, while Sofia Cabezas and Miska Kadleckova achieved the same feat in doubles.

A copy of the Cyclones’ schedule can also be found here.