ISU tennis gains momentum after improving in weekend matches


Senior Ksenia Pronina returns a serve during her singles match. The match went unfinished because No. 10 Oklahoma State won three other matches to secure a 4-0 victory.

Brian Mozey

As seniors Caroline Andersen, Meghan Cassens and Ksenia Pronina received their gifts Saturday, it finally hit them that the match would be their last at home as Cyclones. Even with emotions running high, the seniors were able to lead the ISU tennis team to a win against Augustana.

After loosing 4-0 at home against Oklahoma State on Friday, the Cyclones experienced more luck the following day in a 7-0 sweep against Augustana, the No.1 ranked Division II school. The team’s performances provide hope for the coaches entering the Big 12 tournament. 

“The seniors did their job on Saturday against Augustana and that’s what we expect from them,” said ISU coach Armando Espinosa. “We expect them to lead by example and that’s what they did this weekend.”

The seniors went 2-1 in doubles and 3-0 in singles against Augustana. Pronina believes this type of energy is what the team needs before the Big 12 tournament begins. 

Andersen said she was shocked Augustana was a Division II school because it plays like a Division I school. Iowa State believes it’s making the right strides entering the most important tournament of the entire season.

“Augustana was a great win for the team, but the Oklahoma State match was the biggest step forward even though it was a loss,” Cassens said. “I believe we played true Iowa State tennis at the Oklahoma State match, which could help us in the Big 12 touranment.”

The match against Oklahoma State on Friday was a difficult matchup for doubles, which only took 15 minutes to complete, but the singles showed signs of hope. The singles matches included close sets of 6-4 and 7-5, which displays signs of improvement against top-10 opponents. 

Espinosa said the team needs to focus on doubles and the health of each player. Junior Alejandra Galvis is the only one injured on the team after suffering an apparent knee injury during the Oklahoma State match on Friday.

The injury prevented her from competing in the match against Augustana. She had an ice bag on her knee throughout the duration of Saturday’s match and she had a visible limp while walking. Espinosa said she should be ready to play Thursday in the Big 12 tournament.

“We need Alejandra,” Andersen said. “No questions asked.”

As for the season, Iowa State finished eighth in the Big 12 standings with a conference record of 2-7 and an overall record of 8-14. Iowa State will play Kansas State in the opening round of the Big 12 tournament on Thursday.

Iowa State defeated Kansas State in the regular season this year, but that doesn’t matter to the team with the Big 12 tournament in sight.

“We might’ve won the regular season matchup, but this upcoming match is entirely different,” Pronina said. “The atmosphere is bigger then anything we’ve seen before.”