Despite consecutive losses Cyclones still finding success


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

In every sport fans always buzz around an up-and-coming team. However, bumps in the road along the way seem to slow things down. Many fans and coaches might deem this part of the “process” and just a part of growing pains. 

The Iowa State tennis team, who sits at 15-6, and 1-4 in the Big 12, knows this first hand.

After a couple of 4-0 losses at the hands of three-straight ranked opponents, the Cyclones know they must focus getting better and progressing each game.

Iowa State’s top six is comprised of two freshman, one transfer, and two sophomores. The Cyclones need to get better with experience.

The Cyclones kicked off the weekend with No. 15 Baylor.

“Baylor came out and was very aggressive,” coach Armando Espinosa said. “We were just not ready for that.”

Iowa State ended up losing 4-0 in a meet that might have been a wake up call for some of the players.

“I think it was hard for us, in the sense that we haven’t played a strong team like that,” Sami Budai said. “It took a little time to get used to how they were playing, but I’m happy with how the girls are fighting.”  

The Cyclones struggled early on in the match agaisnt Baylor dropping the doubles point with a 1-6 and 2-6 final. 

Fortunes appeared to turn around and two Cyclones found themselves with a set lead before matches were called off. Maty Cancini and Margarita Timakova put themselves in opportunities to win.

“I think we played very well, they just played better than us,” Cancini said. ” I think we got really good results, individually.”

The Cyclones were then tasked with taking down No. 21 Texas on Sunday.

The Longhorns came in with three top-100 ranked singles players and flexed their muscles on their way to a 4-0 win that was closer than the score dictated.

“I think we performed really well in doubles, we had five or six deuce points in doubles,” Espinosa said. “From singles to the doubles we performed pretty well.”

Budai and Cancini stalled at No.1 doubles losing 0-6 but lost several deuce points which could tunred the tide. No.2 doubles were in a dog fight and did not finish at 3-5.

“I think it gives us a little confidence that were in these matches in doubles with these big schools,” Budai said. “I think we just lost a little focus.”

Down a point heading into singles Iowa State had work to do. After a couple of quick first sets the Cyclones started to get going. 

“It’s a little bit misleading when the 4-0 shows up on the scoreboard, ” Espinosa said. ” There were still two matches at the top of the lineup that were still competitive that shows the quality of players we have.”

They still lost but the progress was enough and competing with a top team was encouraging to see for Espinosa.

“But at the end of the day it becomes a confidence boost for the players,” Espinosa said. “Even thought they have taken the loss or are still out there battling they take it away as a positive.”

Iowa State is trying to find positives to take away from losses to experienced teams. With a young lineup and several players with little Big 12 experience learning and growing is the best thing for this young team.

“I am feeling very good playing,” Cancini said. “I still think I can do better but I can learn a lot from playing.”