Cyclones head to Iowa City in search of two more wins


Iowa State head coach Armando Espinosa watches as junior Samantha Budai plays against Kansas on April 10. Espinosa is coaching for his ninth season at ISU. The Cyclones lost 4-2.

Andrew Smith

The Iowa State tennis team returned from Pennsylvania last weekend boasting a 2-1 record with two dominate performances over Villanova and Lehigh.

The Cyclones are headed to Iowa City, where they will face Montana on Saturday and in-state rival Iowa on Sunday.

Iowa State is coming off two 6-1 victories this past weekend and hopes to keep the momentum going against Montana at 1 p.m. Saturday at the Hawkeye Tennis and Recreation Complex.

“We still need to go out there and compete,” coach Armando Espinosa said. “They are gonna be able to put the ball back to us, so that’s gonna be on us if we are focused enough to go out there and beat them or we are going to beat ourselves.”

The Grizzlies (1-1, 0-0 Big Sky) are coming off a win over Lewis Clark State, notching their first win of the season after a tough defeat at the hands of Washington State, 7-0.

Iowa State will then shift its focus to the Hawkeyes (3-0, 0-0 Big Ten) at 2:30 p.m. Sunday. The Hawkeyes recently beat Northern Illinois. The last match between Iowa State and Iowa was in 2014-15, when the Hawkeyes took the dual 4-1.

But recent results don’t deter Espinosa.

“I think we match up really well against their singles matches,” he said. “I think we have a couple people who have beaten a few people on their side, and we have had close losses as well.” 

As Espinosa said earlier in the season, the story of the Cyclones’ success must come in the form of doubles. The pairing of Margarita Timakova and Annabella Bonadonna finished the Pennsylvania trip on a high note, going 2-1 in doubles and sweeping the last two matches.

Other than that, Iowa State was streaky as far as performances go.

“I thought we had a pretty good showing against Temple. Temple is a very good doubles team,” Espinosa said. “We came out and played Villanova and lost a doubles point. We rebounded pretty well against Lehigh, but still, we should of been able to clinch all three doubles points.”

The players know that doubles is a focal point and can be a crucial in determining whether the match is a win or loss.

“We are working very hard in doubles,” Bonadonna said. “We need those points. We are going to be practicing all week in doubles.”

The Cyclones will need more consistency in doubles matches, and the youngsters will again be called upon to step up and face a tall task of taking on a lineup full of seasoned players.

“We need to be aggressive,” Maty Cancini said. “We need to get every point we can in order to win.”