Cyclones begin spring season in Pennsylvania


Lani Tons/Iowa State Daily

Junior Samantha Budai jumps for the ball at the Kansas match on April 10. Iowa State fell 4-2.

Andrew Smith

The fall season for the Iowa State tennis team proved to be a period full of ups and downs. But the Cyclones picked up momentum heading into break, finding success in both doubles and singles with solid performances in the Southern Illinois University Edwardsville Indoor Invite and Jon Messick Invitational.

The Cyclones will now return from the fall season and travel to Philadelphia to kick off the spring season and take on Temple at Hamlin Courts located at the University of Pennsylvania. The match is slated to start at 4:30 p.m. Friday.

Following the Temple match, the Cyclones will head straight to Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, to take on Villanova on Saturday at noon and Lehigh on Sunday at 10 a.m.

Coach Armando Espinosa thinks the key to coming back successful is starting off with a win against Temple.

“Temple is a team that is very similar to us, we want to keep it close, we wanna make sure that we can get off to a good start,” Espinosa said. “Villanova and Lehigh are two decent teams, but I think the one that we need to take care of is Temple.”

Espinosa hopes to come back with a few wins and a better feeling with doubles and singles pairings, which was the focus of the fall season. 

“We have a gut feeling on doubles, this should solidify what we’re gonna do with doubles,” Espinosa said. “We have a lot of very similar game styles so that’s gonna be a little difficult to see who plays where.”

The Cyclones hope to establish an aggressive play style and put points away earlier, rather than drawing out points. Temple has already dropped a game this season to Old Dominion, 6-1, so the opportunity is there for the Cyclones to start strong with a win.

In order for the Cyclones to come back with successful results, they will need strong performances from the younger players on the team. This requires several members of the team to find their identities as players and improve their game. 

Freshman Mary Cancini has shown promising glimpses during her fall campaign with a strong first place finish in a tournament. Sophomore Annabella Bonadonna is coming off of one of the best freshman seasons in school history last spring and a very strong fall season.

But the one Cyclone who is under the strongest spotlight is senior Samantha Budai. Budai has the opportunity to top three school records for the Cyclones. She is in third in all-time doubles wins, 26 singles victories away from being atop the all-time list and 35 total wins from being the most successful tennis player the university has ever seen, from a total wins standpoint.

Once the Cyclones make the trip back to Ames, they will shift their focus on in-state rival Iowa and Montana, two meetings that will take place in Iowa City on the weekend of Feb. 4th.