Cyclones open conference play 0-2, No. 3 player no longer with team



Les Mwirichia

After nearly two weeks on the road, the ISU tennis team had a few chances to improve its record. Currently the Cyclones stand at 12-4, 0-2 Big 12, losing to their first two Big 12 opponents on the road.

ISU began their road trip on March 10 in Jonesboro, Ark., then later traveled further south to Memphis, Tenn., on March 12. The Cyclone were able to pick up two quick victories as they defeated Arkansas State 7-0 and Memphis 4-1 which gave them momentum going into their next match.

With two road victories under their belt, the Cyclones then traveled to Tulsa, Ok., to face Oral Roberts before entering Big 12 play against the Oklahoma Sooners. Iowa State quickly put Oral Roberts away earning a 7-0 victory before heading to Norman, Ok., where the Sooners (7-7, 2-1 Big 12) awaited them.

After a tough day of play, the Cyclones lost their first Big 12 match 0-4.

“Oklahoma is a tough and very experienced team,” said coach Armando Espinosa.

Despite the loss, the Cyclone remained forward-focused as they traveled to Stillwater, Ok., to meet Big 12 rival Oklahoma State (13-4, 3-0 Big 12).

The Cyclones would fall short yet again, losing 4-0 against the Cowgirls.

“They are definitely stronger than Oklahoma in my opinion,” said freshman Liera Bander.

With only eight games remaining in the 2015-16 season, six of them are against Big 12 conference opponents. This means that for a running chance at the Big 12 Championship, the Cyclones will need to win at least five of their six remaining Big 12 match ups. 

“We have to get the road wins,” said assistant coach Chris Williams.

According to Espinosa, senior and number three roster spot holder, Anna Kuuttila is no longer active on the Cyclone roster. Espinosa would not yet reveal the reason(s) for Kuuttila’s absence on the roster at the moment but assured that he would later in the week.

Until then, Espinosa and Williams have substituted and made player spot adjustments on the roster adding freshman Claudia Toledo. Toledo made her debut as a Cyclone this season in late February against instate rival Northern Iowa, where she earned her first victory as a Cyclone and played a big part in the Cyclone victory that day.

For the Cyclones, an opportunity awaits them next week in Morgantown, W.V. There the Cyclones will meet West Virginia (6-7, 0-2 Big 12). Similar to the Cyclones, the Mountaineers have also fallen to both Oklahoma and Oklahoma State. It will be a test and an opportunity for Iowa State to earn its first Big 12 Conference win.