ISU tennis faces second Big 12 opponent this season

Brian Mozey

The doctors have cleared her. The trainers have cleared her. Coach Armando Espinosa has cleared her. It’s official: junior Ana Gasparovic is playing this Friday.

Gasparovic has been out with a wrist injury for the past six matches and will be ready to compete in the Big 12 conference. Friday is also the second match for the Big 12 season for the ISU tennis team, as it takes on West Virginia.

“I didn’t want to miss the Big 12 season, so I’m glad I’m back to compete,” Gasparovic said. “Hopefully, there aren’t any setbacks while playing this Friday.”

Gasparovic will be back with her original partner, senior Meghan Cassens, and will also play number five singles.

Gasparovic played against Drake on March 6 in number three doubles with Cassens, but was taken out for the rest of the weekend to get her prepared for this upcoming match. She said it was nice to play that one match last weekend because it helped her get used to the competitive level gradually.

“Ana [Gasparovic] will be a big help for out lineup in the Big 12 season,” Espinosa said. “I know her teammates are happy to see her playing again.”

Cassens said she’s excited to have her original partner back and hopes they can compete and be at their highest level right away to be competitive.

Sophomore Samantha Budai and senior Caroline Andersen are happy to be back with their original lineup like it was in the beginning.

“It’ll be nice playing with Alejandra [Galvis] again since she’s been playing with Meghan [Cassens],” Andersen said. “I know with Ana [Gasparovic] we’ll be a better and well-balanced team.”

Another first for the team this weekend is playing outside. The ISU tennis team has been playing in Ames Racquet and Fitness Center for the beginning of their regular season due to the snow and cold temperatures.

If the future forecast is correct, the match will be played at the tennis courts by Forker Building on the east side of campus.

“Even though it’s a different type of court, I think we’ve transitioned really well during this week of practice,” Budai said. “We have a little bit of an advantage because West Virginia hasn’t played outside this season.”

With the snowstorms on the east coast, West Virginia will be playing outside for the first time on Friday during the match.

The team has another advantage after beating West Virginia last season on the road. With all of these benefits, the players are confident going into spring break with many matches ahead.

After West Virginia, the team will go to New York to play St. John’s and Quinnipiac and then the state of Kansas to play Kansas State and Kansas to round out the week of play.

“We’re excited to travel around the country and play against new teams,” Budai said. “We’re also ready to get some wins in the beginning of the Big 12 season to build the confidence up.”