Cyclones attempt to improve national ranking at Minnesota


Les Mwirichia/Iowa State Daily

The ISU tennis team poses after a 4-0 victory against UNI on Feb. 22.

Les Mwirichia

After a long week and a half of preparations, the ISU tennis team (8-1, 0-0 Big 12) will travel to Minneapolis this weekend for a double duel against Buffalo and Minnesota. The Cyclones will begin their weekend against Buffalo on Saturday at 11:00 a.m. then will finish against Minnesota on Sunday at 11:00 at the Minnesota Tennis Complex.

Coming off a great instate rivalry win against Northern Iowa where the Iowa State came out on top with a 4-0 victory, the Cyclones continue their hot streak going into this weekend.

“This weekend is a great opportunity for us,” said coach Armando Espinosa. “We had plenty of time to rest and work on our game, everybody should be healthy and ready to go for the weekend.”

During the fall season, some Iowa State players had a chance to face up against nationally ranked Minnesota in a tournament and did fairly well.

“I’m excited,” said senior Samantha Budi. “We played their tournament in the Fall and some of us played their girls and we did pretty well so I think we have a pretty good shot of winning. We really don’t have anything to lose, but it is motivation for us because we are doing so well right now.

“And this would just add on and get us in the rankings which is something we all hope to do because we haven’t been there in awhile.” 

Going into this weekend the Cyclones have a chance of entering the nation’s top rankings if they defeat Minnesota who is ranked amongst the countries top 50 teams.

“Our goal for the weekend is to defeat Minnesota, but we are not going to overlook Buffalo,” Espinosa said.

“Coming in as a freshman and having an opportunity to help this team earn a national ranking is a big deal and I am very excited for the opportunity.” said freshman Claudia Toledo, who made her debut two weeks ago against Northern Iowa.

Something else the Cyclones are excited about is having Anna Kuuttila back on the roster. Kuuttila ended her season over three weeks ago due to time complications with her academics. But earlier this week, Kuuttila approached coach Espinosa and they were able to come upon an agreement on how they could make the remainder of the season work.

“We are excited to have Anna back. It has been over three weeks since she has played alongside her teammates, but we are all excited to have her back.” Espinosa said.

Although Espinosa isn’t one-hundred percent sure if he will use Kuuttila, a senior, in this weekend’s duel’s, he is refreshed to have another weapon on the roster if needed.

Also traveling with the Cyclones this weekend is Natalie Pipphen. Pipphen underwent Wrist Arthroscopy Surgery two weeks ago while the Cyclones were hosting Northern Iowa. Currently undergoing a six-month recovery along with physical therapy, Phippen was excited to hear that the coaches and trainers allowed her to travel with the team this weekend.

“I wasn’t sure how much they would let me travel but I am excited to go and cheer for my teammates this weekend,” Phippen said.