Two sweeps in two matches for ISU tennis


Jenna Reeves/Iowa State Daily

Sophomore Natalie Phippen sends the ball over the net to her Oklahoma opponent on Feb. 22, 2015. The Cyclones lost 4-2.

Brian Mozey

The frustration continues to grow, but the steps towards success are gradually climbing for the ISU tennis team.

No. 19 TCU and No. 15 Texas Tech swept Iowa State during the weekend to end their regular season on the road. Even though they were swept, their confidence is high going into their final weekend of the regular season and the Big 12 tournament.

“Of course it’s frustrating losing these matches 4-0, but we need to look at the bright side of this situation,” said coach Armando Espinosa.

Sophomore Natalie Phippen said the matches were even more limited in time than most regular season matches. Once a team reaches four points, they win the match and all other matches stop. This system frustrates Espinosa and some of the players on the team because they can’t finish each of their matches and possibly get a point for their team.

Throughout the two matches, there were four opportunities to win in singles and one in doubles. If all matches had been played, it could have been a 4-2 or 4-3 loss instead of a sweep.

“It’s surprising how much the difference between a 4-0 loss and a 4-2 loss is, but it changes perspectives dramatically,” said junior Ana Gasparovic. “Our confidence changes and the overall atmosphere of the team is changed.”

The discussion has been brought up throughout the regular season with an emphasis in the Big 12 conference matches. Espinosa said there has been many matches that could’ve resulted in a closer loss or sometimes a win.

The matches that come to mind that should’ve been closer were the 4-2 loss to Oklahoma, 4-3 loss to Kansas, 4-2 loss to Texas and these past weekend matches. Espinosa believes all of these matches could have been 4-3 losses or 4-3 wins if there was more time.

Gasparovic said these losses aren’t looked at as disappointments, but rather a step to holding the championship trophy at the end of the Big 12 tournament.

“We’ve had the mentality and motto of never giving up and continuing to push until that final point is scored,” Phippen said. “It always seems like we’re the underdogs in the Big 12 conference and this motivates us to work harder and defeat the favorites.”

With a 2-6 record in the Big 12 conference and a 7-13 record overall, the ISU tennis team is sitting at eighth in the conference standings with Kansas State and West Virginia behind them. Iowa State can only reach the seventh position because Kansas has clinched sixth with a 4-3 record.

Oklahoma is a spot ahead of Iowa State and has their last Big 12 match against West Virginia while the ISU tennis team plays Oklahoma State at home this upcoming weekend. This means Iowa State will play on Thursday night of the Big 12 tournament against either Kansas State or West Virginia, both of which Iowa State defeated this regular season.

“Even though the Big 12 tournament is almost a week, we need to focus on finishing our season strong,” Espinosa said. “Then we can get prepared for the championship weekend.”