ISU tennis team faces last in-state rival of 2015 season

Brian Mozey

The ISU tennis team will have one more chance this season to obtain a win against an in-state rival.

The team will travel to Des Moines, but won’t have full home-court advantage because it will face in-state rival Drake. This weekend also entails two other matches against Wyoming and UMKC.

The date with Drake is the final of the three in-state rivalries this season.

“Our goal before the season even started was to beat Drake,” said sophomore Samantha Budai.

Junior Ana Gasparovic said that a win against Drake is a necessity because the team is 0-2 against Iowa and Northern Iowa, both in-state rivals.

“The loss to Northern Iowa was a match that hurt everyone on the team,” said senior Meghan Cassens. “We made sure to circle the Drake match after that loss.”

Drake is 9-3 this season, but has been 1-4 against Iowa State the last five seasons. Coach Armando Espinosa said even though every match is tough and important, the Drake match will probably push the team the most.

Wyoming has a 4-4 record and UMKC is 4-5, so Drake seems like the toughest opponent on paper.

“We have to focus on Drake right now. We can think about Wyoming and UMKC after Drake,” Espinosa said. “We have to have this mentality because we are short on healthy players and we can’t think about the future.”

With three matches in three days last weekend, there were some injuries and fatigue that needed rest this week.

Budai said that she is feeling good after twisting her ankle last weekend and she’s expected to play strong in every match this weekend.

On the other hand, Gasparovic is still dealing with a wrist injury, but the doctors gave her a glimpse of hope. Gasparovic went to the doctor Thursday to hear that she might be able to play one match this weekend. Espinosa said that she will be a game-time decision and it depends on if she has any setbacks these next couple days.

“We want Ana [Gasparovic] to be healthy for the Big 12 matches next week,” Espinosa said. “If that means we have to keep her out, then we will do that.”

Espinosa said the lineup for this weekend should be similar to last weekend because of the injuries and the two redshirt players. This week of practice has been short, sweet and to the point because Espinosa doesn’t want to exhaust his players before another long weekend ahead. Instead of three matches in three days, the team will compete in three matches in two days.

Budai said that these types of weekends take a toll on the players regarding confidence and most importantly, health. She also said the team needs to eat right, sleep well and play to the best of its abilities to get the upcoming three wins.

“We can’t control injuries, but we hope to win all three matches this weekend,” Budai said. “This would build our confidence up for the Big 12 matches coming up next week.”