Iowa State returns home to host Wyoming and West Virginia


Lani Tons/Iowa State Daily

Iowa State junior Samantha Budai leans for shot at the Kansas tennis match at the Forker Tennis Courts on April 10. Kansas won all of the singles matches. ISU fell 4-2.

Andrew Smith

It has been a long stretch of matches for the Iowa State tennis team (11-2, 0-0 Big 12).

The Cyclones have been all over the map, from Pennsylvania to Florida and even South Dakota. Iowa State now gets a chance to settle in this weekend for a pair of home duals.

“It is nice to stay close to home,” Samantha Budai said. “Not having to leave on a Thursday in the middle of the week so we can get more sleep and be better prepared.”

The Cyclones have battled their way to an eight-game win streak and are arguably one of the hottest teams in the Big 12. But travel has taken its toll on the Cyclones.

“Its a little bit more rest,” coach Armando Espinosa said. “We still have to stay focused so we can be ready to go.”

The extra rest might just be what Iowa State needs in order to get its first Big 12 win of the season. The Cyclones still have to face off against a strong Wyoming squad (9-2, 0-0 Mountain West) and finish the weekend with West Virginia (4-6, 0-0 Big 12).

Wyoming is coming in riding a 6-1 win over Idaho. The Cowgirls are led by Dorottya Jonas and Tessa Van Der Ploeg who have found their stride in dual action this season.

Jonas is 3-1 at the No. 1 spot in singles and Van Der Ploeg has been a huge boost going undefeated in singles matches giving them a huge threat in the lineup.

“Wyoming, they have played good teams,” Espinosa said. “They come in with two ranked teams in doubles so it will be a challenge.”

If the Cyclones can grab a win over Wyoming it could be a huge boost heading into Saturdays match against West Virginia a team who’s record is deceptive.

“They come from altitude so it’s a big difference,” Espinosa said. “They will still be ready to go and we cannot take anything for granted.”

Iowa State has had a great track record against the Mountaineers going 4-0 all time since they joined the Big 12 in 2012-2013. The Mountaineers have had to battle for all their wins. Iowa State wants avoid a dogfight with them or the Mountaineers might upset the Cyclones eight game win streak.

“Every year the Big 12 is tough,” Budai said. “We have nothing to lose and a lot to gain.”

Regardless of the results any and all experience helps the Cyclones moving into the future key players like Budai are done after this year leaving a hole in the lineup.

Some of the the younger players are playing thier first Big 12 dual and they must take advantage of this opportunity to gain playing experience.  

“It’s my first year so I think its a big opportunity,” Karen Alarez said. “We can help the program get up.”