Iowa State tennis looks to get back on track in three-team dual


Iowa State head coach Armando Espinosa watches the Cyclones at their match against Kansas at the Forker Tennis Courts on April 10, 2016. ISU fell 4-2.

Andrew Smith

The Iowa State tennis team (3-2,0-0 Big 12) will try to regroup after a shaky weekend in Iowa City last weekend with trio of matches in Des Moines this Friday and Sunday. 

The Cyclones will turn their attention to Omaha (2-2, 0-0 Summit) 11 a.m. Friday at the Roger Knapp Tennis Center in Des Moines. 

“They’re a team that are gonna make balls, they are gonna make you play a little bit ugly,” coach Armando Espinosa said. “So we have to be very focused, we have to be disciplined in terms of playing our game and starting strong.”

The Mavericks come into Friday’s meet after a win over Doane University, sweeping them 7-0. Anther point of interest is junior Michelle Lo. Lo is coming into the meet undefeated in singles play and only having one loss in doubles. She garnered Summit League Player of the Week recently.

After Omaha, Iowa State will prepare for the Drake Bulldogs (2-1, 0-0 MVC) at 4 p.m. Friday. 

“They always gear up to play us,” Espinosa said. “A couple of people there we didn’t feel they were up to the caliber that we wanted, so they play with a chip on their shoulder.”

Senior Samantha Budai said Drake is motivated because Drake is in a lower conference.

“They have nothing to lose but a whole lot to gain so they are gonna come out with lots of energy and a really explosive game,” Budai said.

The Bulldogs welcome the Cyclones boasting a very strong singles lineup. The Bulldogs have won 8-12 singles matches in their last two contests, which were both 4-3 wins over South Dakota and Augustana.

After a jam-packed Friday, Iowa State will take Saturday off to regroup. On Sunday, the Cyclones head back to the courts to host the Illinois State Redbirds (3-2, 0-0 MVC) in their home opener at 2 p.m. at Lifetime Fitness in Urbandale.

The Redbirds won two matches in a row to begin the season. They dropped one later, and most recently beat University of Indianapolis 5-4.

“I don’t think they are as deep as we are so hopefully we can use that to our advantage, but it will be important to take care of the matches up on top,” Espinosa said.

Doubles will once again be a huge point for Iowa State. If the Cyclones can take care of business they will likely come back to Ames with three solid wins.

“Doubles is still the main focus for us having all new doubles pairings this year from 1-3 spots it is all about gaining confidence once again and being more comfortable with our partners,” Budai said.