ISU tennis focuses on finishing strong


Iowa State junior Samantha Budai watches the ball in her singles match against Kansas on April 10. ISU fell 4-2. Budai scored with an 8-9 record at No. 1 singles last season.

Les Mwirichia

It’s been a good season for the ISU tennis team, which has faced constant adversity since the beginning of January. And that season will come to a close this weekend against TCU and Texas Tech.

Injuries affected the roster early in the season, and the loss of Anna Kuuttila, the team’s No. 3 player, didn’t help matters. Mixing in five newcomers to the program, the Cyclones were set to repeat its past woes. 

But the Cyclones didn’t give in and have been impressive on and off the court. The senior/freshman duo of Alejandra Galvis and Annabella Bonadonna have been the powerhouse duo in the Big 12 so far, going 5-0 against Big 12 opponents.

Senior Ana Gasparovic was named an Academic All-Big 12 First Team for the third time in her ISU career.

Gasparovic is a Croatian native studying management information systems. Gasparovic is currently 6-5 in singles play this season and is among Iowa State’s top-20 in career wins.

“We are happy for Ana,” said head coach Armando Espinosa. “She has put together a great résumé for herself on and off the court here at Iowa State. I am honored and extremely proud of all her hard work and how she has represented this team, on the court and in her studies.” 

With all the congratulations going around, the Cyclones are still preparing for Big 12 competition. Iowa State will host No. 17 Texas Tech on Friday. The Red Raiders have a chance to end their season on a high note by winning all five of their road contests. 

On Sunday, the Cyclones will host No. 33 TCU. The Horned Frogs (13-4, 5-2 Big 12) are coming off two big road wins against Oklahoma and No. 15 Oklahoma State.

TCU has been strong this season in doubles play. The Horned Frogs have one ranking with Seda Arantekin and Caroline Wegner, who check in at No. 27 in doubles, according to the International Tennis Association. Iowa State’s No. 1, Samantha Budai and Liza Buss, will likely face them.

“We have two tough team ahead of us this weekend to finish off the regular season,” said associate head coach Chris Williams. “Just like we have been all season, we will stick to our strategy of winning the doubles point. We know that Texas Tech is a good team and so is TCU. So we just have to be prepared and hopefully end the season on a good note.”

The Cyclones won’t qualify for the Big 12 Tournament on April 8, but this weekend still provides the team with a chance to prove its worth after its most successful season in history. 

“We have had a really good week of practice,” said redshirt freshman Liera Bender. “We talked about the season and our coaches told us that they are really proud of us this season, but we still have a chance to prove ourselves this weekend by beating Tech and TCU.”

Action will begin at 3 p.m. Friday at the Ames Racquet and Fitness Center.