ISU starter leaves team for 2nd time

Les Mwirichia

For the second time this season, ISU tennis’ Anna Kuuttila has left the team. 

After graduating from New Mexico, where she received a degree in chemical engineering, Kuuttila transferred to Iowa State pursue a doctorate with hopes to continue playing tennis at a Division I institute.

On Feb. 10, before the Cyclones headed to Logan, Utah, to face Idaho State, Utah State and Weber State all in one weekend, Kuuttila made the decision to leave the team to pursue her doctorate. 

That morning, Kuuttila confronted ISU head coach Armando Espinosa and made him aware of her decision.

“[She said], ‘I love playing tennis, I love the game and my teammates are great, But I have to do what is best for me,” Espinosa said. 

Espinosa and assistant coach Chris Williams, along with the entire Cyclones tennis team and staff, were supportive of Kuuttila’s decision.

“It sucks not having her,” said senior Alejandra Galvis. “She plays a big part on our team, but we support her 100 percent, and we wish her the best.”

Whether her time opened up or she felt incomplete without her team, after the win against instate rival Northern Iowa on Feb. 19th, Kuuttila was back on the Cyclones’ roster the following week.

Kuuttila resumed practice for the next two weeks. On March 5, the Cyclones were in Minneapolis where they would face Buffalo and Minnesota that weekend. Espinosa had intended on starting Kuuttila that day, but there was question to where Kuuttila would play on the lineup because of her short-term resignation.

“When we got there, the refs said that she had to play within two spots of her previous place,” Esponisa said. “We kept her at the three spot.” 

So since her return on March 5, with the help of Kuuttila, the Cyclones fell to Minnesota. On March 17, the Cyclones were in Tulsa, Okla., awaiting to play Oral Roberts, but Kuuttila was not on the lineup that day. The Cyclones won 7-0 without Kuuttila.

The next day, the Cyclones would begin Big 12 Conference play against the (5-7, 1-0 Big 12) Oklahoma Sooners. Kuuttila was still not in the lineup. 

The Cyclones lost 4-0.

After the match, Espinosa said Kuutila’s status was unclear. 

“I can’t say for sure what is going on with her at the moment, but I will let you know when it clears up,” Espinosa said. 

Two days later, the Cyclones were back in action against Oklahoma State. The Cyclones lost 4-0 without Kuutila.

Freshman Linda Bender played in her place. 

“I found out moments after the doubles matches that I would be playing,” Bender said. “I was excited but I was also thinking about Anna. Coaches told us what they knew at the moment which was still very unclear to them but they told us what they know.”

As the Cyclones prepare for West Virginia this weekend, Kuuttila is off the team. 

“Anna will no longer be on the team,” Espinosa said Thursday morning. 

Although she is off the team, players on the team are still wondering about her situation. 

“I think she got back from New Mexico yesterday, but I haven’t heard from her, and I don’t think that she has responded to anyone’s texts on the team,” Bender said.