Tennis victory against West Virginia stems back to scrimmage


Katy Klopfenstein/Iowa State Daily

Ksena Pronina sits with teammate Samantha Budai during Iowa State’s tennis match against Augustana on Saturday, April 18.

Les Mwirichia

On their last practice of the week before traveling to Morgantown, W.V., to face their third Big 12 opponent, the Cyclones (13-4, 1-2) had a fun but strategic practice that was effective in this past weekend’s 4-2 win against West Virginia.

It was simply a scrimmage. The team was divided fairly into two teams, including coach Armando Espinosa and his years of experience both on the court and as a coach. The first team to 30 points won, and each set point won was a point. The goal of the scrimmage was for the players to compete while being aware of how their teammates were doing.

“We will be playing on four courts,” Espinosa said. “This allows us to see who is ahead. We can see how others are playing, we can cheer for each other, we can play with energy and take care of our own court and we can also play with momentum.”

Chants of “go state” and “here we go Cyclones” were bouncing off the walls of the Ames Racquet and Fitness Center tennis courts as the scrimmage began, just like they would when facing a scheduled opponent.

Only for the gratification of a victory, the players went to war. With all of the matches taking place at the same time, the energy could be felt right off the bat, accompanied with poise and focus. Even though it was a practice, the team played with 100 percent effort. 

About seven minutes into the scrimmage, it was easy to see how effective the strategy was. Both teams were never down by more than three points. Every time an individual scored for her team, others on the court were aware.

So it was either help your team by winning the next point to get further ahead or win the next point so your team still stands a chance. Winning would only come with a team effort.

As each point was scored, the level of intensity grew. Ten minutes into the scrimmage, the score was 28-27. Williams stopped the matches. The last matches were played one on one. The roaring and cheers continued, and the tension lingered. 

The winner of the scrimmage didn’t matter. This team simulated a game situation and that carried into the team’s rally to earn a victory after being down 2-1 against West Virginia.

They were all aware of the situation: the Cyclones needed three wins to secure the match victory. And just like they practiced, the remaining players took care of their match. The Cyclones earned three wins in a row to end the day with a 4-2 victory.

“We knew West Virginia is a tough team and we knew that we might be in a situation where it would come down to the last match and we did a good job of preparing for it,” said player Regina Espindola.

The Cyclones will be off the next two weeks before returning home to face Big 12 rivals Kansas and Kansas State on April 8 and 10 at the Ames Racquet and Fitness Center.

“We will take a day off, then get right back into it,” Espinosa said. “We are excited to be playing at home after being on the road for a little over a month now. They are both good teams and we are excited to be playing them at home.”