ISU tennis reflects on season


Sophomore Samantha Budai returns a ball and her partner, senior Ksenia Pronina, awaits a rally during their doubles match against No. 10 Oklahoma State. Oklahoma State defeated Iowa State 4-0.

Brian Mozey

The ISU tennis season might be over, but the memories will continue for a lifetime.

The spring regular season had many ups and downs with record-breaking performances, team wins and disappointing losses. All of this transfers into a new season and new players next school year.

“We’re continuing to take steps toward a bright future at Iowa State and our tennis program,” said ISU coach Armando Espinosa.

The team had a record of 8-15 overall this regular season and a 2-7 record in the Big 12 conference. This is the first time since the 2000-01 season that the team has earned two conference wins in a season.

Junior Alejandra Galvis said the biggest win was the West Virginia match because it was the first Big 12 win the team earned and it was won in dramatic fashion. Galvis won the match with a 13-11 tie-breaking win in the third set.

The win led to her to winning eight straight singles matches through non-conference play into Big 12 matches.

“She is a great competitor with a passion for winning,” Espinosa said. “I can’t wait to see what she has in store for her senior year next year.”

Pronina said the biggest win for the team was the win at Kansas State on March 22. Iowa State lost the doubles point, but fought back to win the match 4-3. This was the second and final Big 12 win the team would earn through the season.

Those two wins earned Iowa State the No. 8 seed in the Big 12 tournament at the end of the year. This was the first time in ISU tennis history that Iowa State was favored in a first round matchup at the tournament.

Iowa State lost to Kansas State in the first round of the tournament 4-1, which was unexpected to many of the players and coaches of the ISU tennis team.

“Even though we ended on a bad note, our season was great with many wins we weren’t expecting,” said sophomore Samantha Budai. “We also had some rough patches within our season, though.”

The team went through a challenging time in February and mid-March when it went 2-7 with losses against Iowa, Northern Iowa and Drake — the three in-state rivals. During this time, sophomore Talisa Merchiers decided to transfer from the team and junior Ana Gasparovic battled a wrist injury.

These bumpy roads have led to obstacles being overcome and records being broken. Cassens will be listed in the record book for three different categories. Those categories include second in overall career singles wins (70-71), third in overall career singles and doubles wins (122-124) and seventh in conference regular-season career singles wins (9-24).

Pronina has two records to her name as well. Those records include tied for third in overall career singles wins (62-66) and tied for sixth in overall career singles and doubles wins (110-121).

Espinosa said these seniors have played a vital role for the ISU tennis program and it’s sad to see them go, but next year’s recruiting class has the talent to continue this success.

“Our goal for next year will be to win more matches during the regular season,” Budai said. “Our main goal is to finally break history and move onto the second round of the Big 12 tournament to get one step closer to that championship trophy.”