Iowa State tennis prepares for showdowns in Texas


Iowa State junior Samantha Budai watches the ball in her singles match against Kansas on April 10. ISU fell 4-2. Budai scored with an 8-9 record at No. 1 singles last season.

Andrew Smith

Despite being on a four-meet skid, the Iowa State tennis team (15-6, 1-4 Big 12) is locked, loaded and ready for a tough trip to Texas to take on TCU and No. 5 Texas Tech.

Even if the Cyclones can’t manage to get anything going, they can rely on one another to focus on the positives, move on to the next match and forget about past performances.

“Previous season, we haven’t had the girls as close as we are now,” redshirt sophomore Liera Bender said. “It definitely helps everyone stay really positive so we can get over losses and we can pick the positives out as well.”

The Cyclones face arguably their toughest test this Friday when they head to Lubbock, Texas, to take on No. 5 Texas Tech.

The Red Raiders (18-3, 6-0 Big 12) are led by No. 10 Gabriela Talaba and No. 56 Felicity Maltby. The duo has dominated the No. 1 and No. 2 spots for Texas Tech.

Talaba has compiled a 12-4 record in dual matches and has a 2-1 record in Big 12 play. Maltby has found similar success. She has a 9-7 record, going 2-1 for the Red Raiders in Big 12 play.

The Red Raiders have been extremely successful in singles, going 70-33 on the season and have followed suit with doubles, going 36-21. 

“Lubbock, Texas, is not an easy place to play,” coach Armando Espinosa said. “You never know what you’re going to get out of Lubbock. They’re a tough team.”

When the dust settles and the match ends, the Cyclones will have a day break before heading to Forth Worth, Texas, to play TCU on Sunday. 

TCU (10-7, 2-3 Big 12) could be a huge meet for the Cyclones and an opportunity for the younger players to build on what has been a solid spring campaign. 

“I feel like were going to have a big win,” Bender said. “I’ve been saying it all season, I feel it coming this weekend.”

TCU was has since fallen out of the top 25 but is still in the top 50, sitting at No. 30. They are led by Seda Arantekin, who boasts a 9-5 record and has since found her groove at No. 2 singles sitting at 5-1 on the season.

The Horned Frogs real strength lies in the doubles pairings where their top two teams have combined for a total losses of three and 11 wins.

“We don’t have anything to lose and a lot to win,” freshman Karen Alvarez said. “We are looking for that big win and I think this is a great chance to get that.”