Iowa State tennis returns home for three-match stretch


Iowa State freshman Annabella Bonadonna jumps for the tennis ball at the match against Kansas on April 10. The Cyclones fell 4-2. Bonadonna ranked first nationally in her age group in 2011 and 2013 before attending ISU.

Andrew Smith

After a tough weekend in Kansas, the Cyclones will attempt to turn their fortunes around after only winning just two sets out of the two matches last weekend.

But Iowa State’s opponents may not be the only things the Cyclones need to fight this weekend.

“It’s supposed to be kinda spotty rain in the morning,” coach Armando Espinosa said. “We are supposed to play Texas indoors at 10, and if we cannot play outside, we will have to cancel the Central College match.”

The weather around Ames may be dreary and bleak, but the Cyclones can’t let it get them down as they welcome a trio of team to Ames. 

To kick off the weekend, the Cyclones will host No. 15 Baylor (13-5, 1-2 Big 12) on Friday and No. 21 Texas (8-6, 2-2 Big 12) on Sunday. 

The Bears are going to be a tough out for the Cyclones, as they have two outstanding singles players boasting great records. Angie Shakhraichuk comes in winning four straight matches, boosting her record to 11-4. 

But the real weapon for the Bears is Blair Shankle, who is ranked No. 4 in the nation in singles. She has been a solid bet for the Bears, winning nine games at the top spot in the lineup.

Much like the Cyclones, the Bears have switched things up in doubles this season, but they have found success with a few pairings. Their most successful team has been the pair of Jessica Hinojosa and Shakhraichuk, who have an 8-5 record overall and are 1-2 in the conference. 

“We expect a tough Baylor match,” Espinosa said. “It’s going to be a little bit tougher, but we are just going to see what we are able to do.”

The Longhorns also sport a powerful lineup, with three players ranked in the top 100 in the nation in singles.

Bianca Turati has been playing well for the Longhorns, earning a 6-4 record at the top spot in singles. She has been one of the more consistent players in the Longhorns’ lineup, next to Petra Granic, who has bounced between the No. 3 and 4 spot.

Granic has tallied eight wins and only three losses while flying under the radar as one of Texas’ more successful singles players.

“They’re both very good teams, they are both really highly ranked,” assistant coach Olga Elkin said. “I think it will be good to get a couple of wins here and there, and every match we go out there we need to improve.”

The Cyclones will then wrap up the weekend by facing Division III Central College later Sunday afternoon.

“For Central, we are going to give our kids at the bottom a little bit more of a chance to play higher in the lineup,” Espinosa said. ” Overall, I think it’s going to be a good weekend for us.”

If Iowa State can mange to win one of the Big 12 matches, it would be huge for the Cyclones, who could use a boost from last weekend’s slump.

“I think we have been playing really well as a team,” Erin Freeman said. “I think if we continue to work hard and practice well, we should be OK.”