Alvarez finishes fourth for Iowa State tennis at Bluejay Invitational


Kylie Kost/Iowa State Daily

Freshman Karen Alvarez warms up to play against the University of Ohio on April 21.

Jack Shover

Karen Alvarez finished fourth in her respective bracket at the Bluejay Invitational hosted by Creighton. Alvarez’s final record after two days of competition was 1-2.

On the first day of competition on Friday, Alvarez won her only match of the day when she defeated Ellie Bender from Doane University 6-0, 6-0.

On the second day of the invitational, Alvarez lost in the semifinal of her bracket against Jaylee Yasunaga from North Dakota 6-4, 7-5.

Alvarez then played Zahra Finnigan from North Dakota in the third place match of her bracket where she was defeated 6-3, 6-4, 10-3.

A focus of Alvarez heading into the weekend, was the placement of her serves as well as a newly refined serving motion.

“There were times it [her serve] came together very well,” said assistant coach Olga Elkin.

Coach Elkin emphasized how Alvarez fared very well in her serve placement during the last two matches Alvarez played in. Elkin was very impressed with how receptive Alvarez was when the coaches wanted to change her serve.

Coach Elkin also noted that Alvarez had to deal with wind that often disrupted her serve. The wind can carry the ball when a player tosses the ball up during a serve. 

Positioning and footwork on the court is also an area of improvement for Alvarez.

When Alvarez is able to adequately able to position herself into advantageous areas on the court and get her feet around the ball, she is better able to put more pressure on opponents. This leads to better scoring opportunities for Alvarez and more errors from the opponent.

Another point of emphasis entering the weekend, especially from Alvarez herself, was confidence. Coach Elkin described Alvarez as having times of great confidence, but also times where she seemed uncomfortable on the court.

Consistency will be key for Alvarez’s continued development.

Despite some struggles, coach Elkin was impressed with the play of Alvarez.

“This is some of the best tennis I’ve seen her play,” said coach Elkin.

Alvarez will be able to continue her growth next week as the Cyclones will travel to Fort Collins, Colorado to partake in the John Messick Invitational hosted by Colorado State.