ISU tennis team finds positives in loss to Oklahoma


Sophomore Samantha Budai returns the ball during her singles match against Oklahoma on Feb. 22, 2015. Budai won her match, but the Cyclones lost 4-2.

Brian Mozey

A season is filled with many ups and downs and after falling to Northern Iowa on Feb. 18 and losing against Oklahoma on Feb. 22, the ISU tennis team is trying to find the positive side within its play.

The 4-2 loss to the Sooners places the ISU tennis team at 0-1 in the Big 12 to start its season. Even in a loss, the team is paying more attention to the opponent and the close matches between each pairing.

“The UNI match was a disappointing loss and everyone knew they were able to beat their opponent,” said senior Meghan Cassens. “Today, though, I thought this was a great step in the right direction for the Big 12 season ahead.”

Coach Armando Espinosa said he thought the team came out with some fire from the UNI loss, but didn’t think it would be with this much power.

“People stepped up today and I believe we showed what we’re capable of from top to bottom,” Espinosa said.

The doubles started off slow for Iowa State, but resulted in a win from Budai and Pronina. Espinosa said that the closeness of the three pairings in doubles shows that with a little more practice and no injuries, the team can compete with anyone.

“We’ve had a long couple of days between the UNI match and today,” Espinosa said. “With the injury to junior Ana Gasparovic and sophomore Talisa Merchiers transferring, the team had to overcome some big obstacles.”

Cassens had to face some adjustments with a new partner in her doubles pairing and the chemistry has to grow before the results can follow suit.

“Natalie Phippen hasn’t had much match play in doubles and that’s the biggest obstacle we need to overcome,” Cassens said. “Hopefully the injury to Ana doesn’t last too long and we can get back to the original doubles lineup.”

Gasparovic hopes to practice sometime this week and regain her strength for a long three-match weekend.

The team will be facing ranked Minnesota, undefeated Marquette and Wisconsin-Milwaukee next weekend. With the number of players available in the ISU tennis lineup, some of the players are worried about injuries with so many matches in a row.

“We for sure need to take care of our bodies with all of these matches, but we also need to play with this mentality to get the two wins in Minnesota,” Budai said.

Espinosa said he likes the play he saw in the match against Oklahoma and with this mindset, he believes the team has the chance to surprise some Big 12 teams in the future.

“I hope the confidence goes up for our players after this close match and with this mentality I saw today, we can raise some heads in the Big 12 conference and tournament,” Espinosa said.