ISU tennis uses break to reflect


Jenna Reeves/Iowa State Daily

Senior Ksenia Pronina returns the ball during her singles match against Oklahoma pn Feb. 22, 2015. The Cyclones fell to the Sooners 4-2.

Brian Mozey

With a small break in the regular season, the ISU tennis team has been able to reflect on the non-conference and the beginning of Big 12 matches. With close wins and losses, the team has high hopes entering the end of the season.

The team holds an overall record of 7-11 and a 2-4 Big 12 record this season. With wins against West Virginia, Kansas State, Utah State and Quinnipiac and losses to Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, Baylor and Minnesota, coach Armando Espinosa is confident for the end of the season and the Big 12 tournament.

“I’m happy with how the season is going,” Espinosa said. “We’re technically 7-11 this season, but with the close losses we could easily be 10-8 or 11-7.”

The team has had four 4-2 losses and one 4-3 loss this regular season and with more time and confidence, Espinosa thinks the scores could have been 4-3 wins.

Senior Ksenia Pronina said the team continues to improve every game, with the team’s main focus to win the Big 12 championship at the end of the season.

The team started off 2-1 in the first three matches and then struggled for the next seven matches, going 1-6 with losses to Northern Iowa, Oklahoma and Drake.

“We were faced with some different lineup changes with Ana’s [Gasparovic] wrist injury and that led to a couple weeks of losses and frustration,” said senior Caroline Andersen. “It was tough, but I believe those losses made us stronger going into the Big 12 conference matches.”

After the Oklahoma match, the team faced West Virginia at home on the outdoor courts and won the match 4-3. The deciding point was determined by a tiebreaker in No. 4 singles with junior Alejandra Galvis.

“West Virginia was a big match to win for the team because it built our confidence going into a week with four matches and two of them being Big 12 teams,” Galvis said.

During Spring Break, Iowa State lost to St. John’s and Kansas, but defeated Quinnipiac and Kansas State. The Kansas State match was the first time since the 2008-09 season that Iowa State defeated the Wildcats. This second win in the Big 12 record is the most wins in a season since Espinosa has been head coach of the ISU tennis program.

Espinosa said there’s been a lot of improvement throughout the season with every player and he’s excited to see how the team finishes with the last four games and the Big 12 tournament.

“Now that we have two wins under our belt we have confidence into the final part of our season,” Espinsoa said. “All we need to do is continue to improve and we’ll shock some people in the Big 12 tournament.”

The team has four matches left in the regular season against TCU, Texas Tech, Oklahoma State and Augustana. After those matches, the Big 12 championship will begin on April 23 and end on April 26.

With a couple more wins during the regular season, the ISU tennis team could climb into a top six spot in the Big 12 standings. This would give the Cyclones a bye into the second round and possibly play a team they defeated this season.

“Our ultimate goal is to win the Big 12 championship at the end of the year,” said senior Meghan Cassens. “Everything before this tournament is a chance to improve, so you’re playing your best tennis at that specific time in April.”