Samantha Budai grabs Big 12 Player of the Week


Iowa State junior Samantha Budai hits the ball at the Kansas match on April 10 at the Forker Tennis Courts.

Andrew Smith

Not only has it been a tremendous week for the Iowa State tennis team, but it’s been an even better week for senior Samantha Budai. Budai earned Big 12 Player of the Week honors for her dominating performance this weekend over Northern Iowa.

Budai went 2-0 on the weekend, improving her record to 6-0 in singles as she cruised to a 6-4, 6-0 win. She also notched a momentous win with her doubles partner Maty Cancini 6-1.

The win will serve as a much-needed confidence booster heading into Big 12 play. The pair is sitting at 7-4 in doubles, where the Cyclones need to get results in order to be successful 

“A couple of years ago I know I was really close to getting that award and I didn’t get it,” Budai said. “It makes me happy in my senior year that I got to get that award, it’s really big.”

Budai joins only one other Cyclone who has claimed the award, Erin Karonis, back in 2009.

“She’s playing smarter,” coach Armando Espinosa said. “She’s not letting her emotions get to her as much as she used to do, she is not taking the bad losses, so I think that is contributing to her success this season.”

Budai has also been slowing climbing up the rankings hoping to become one of the few Cyclones to ever be nationally ranked.

“Next week we are forecasting her to be in the top 80 in the country, which is a big jump from where she was, which was 125,” Espinosa Said. “She works hard, but she’s starting to realize she doesn’t need to hit the ball back everytime, she staring to play smarter.”

Budai isn’t the only other Cyclone who may win the award this season. Regina Espindola had been impressive for the Cyclones in singles play as she has won 10 straight singles matches and has been an almost certain win for the Cyclones playing at the four spot.

Iowa State will depend on Budai and Espindola moving forward this season. The two standouts have proven themselves as staples in the lineup not only in singles but doubles as well.

“She (Budai) is still undefeated at the number one spot,” Espinosa said. “So it’s a well-deserved award.”