Iowa State tennis set to compete in John Messick Invitational

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

Jack Shover

The Iowa State tennis team will travel to Fort Collins, Colorado, to battle in the Jon Messick Invitational hosted by Colorado State. The invitational begins on Friday, Oct. 6, and ends on Sunday, Oct. 8.

South Dakota will be at the invitational, marking the second time Iowa State has competed against South Dakota. The first meeting was at Iowa State’s first tournament of the season at the Gopher Invitational hosted by Minnesota.

Iowa State’s record against South Dakota is 2-1 during singles play and 2-2 during doubles.

Colorado State is coming off of a short week after having participated in the Bluejay Invitational hosted by Creighton in Omaha, Nebraska. The Invitational was Colorado State’s first competition this season.

Colorado State finished 2-2 during singles and 2-0 during doubles.

The only Cyclone that participated at the Bluejay Invitational was Karen Alvarez. Alvarez did not face anyone from Colorado State, but finished the invitational with a record of 1-2 during singles play.

Alvarez was the only Cyclone to compete because she had an illness during the Gopher Invitational, which led to missed matches. The coaches felt that Alvarez needed matches over the weekend to continue her development.

The rest of the team remained in Ames over the weekend and focused on practice and getting healthy from injury and illness.

A healthy Cyclone squad will continue to allow coach Armando Espinosa to continue to evaluate doubles pairs such as Maty Cancini/Ekaterina Repina occupying the No. 1 spot.

The two played four matches together, but Repina suffered an injury during the second day limiting the duos time together. The two finished 2-2.

“We will see how we compete moving into the second and third days,” Espinosa said. 

If Repina struggles, Regina Espindola could pair with Cancini in the No. 1 doubles spot.

Another pair that had their time cut short, was No. 3 pair Erin Freeman/Espindola. The pair played five matches together going 4-1 before Freeman was forced to retire during a singles match on the third day of the Gopher Invitational.

Management of Freeman’s knee will be key moving forward. The pain is typically caused by stress from playing long stretches of matches during the invitationals so rest is essential. Freeman was on match number eight when she was forced to retire.

The only doubles group that played the entirety of the Gopher Invitational together was No. 2 pair Annabella Bonadonna/Margarita Timakova. The pair finished with a record of 7-1.

The team should improve upon its 17-7 doubles record and 11-15 singles record with healthy players.

Espinosa believes that the thin atmosphere the Cyclones will be playing in will have minimal impact on their games.

“It is going to have an effect in terms of the speed of the ball, but we play indoors so that should counter it,” Espinosa said about the effect of the high altitude.

Espinosa elaborated by stating that players tiring out will not be an issue at the invitational.