ISU tennis finishes weekend with split record

Brian Mozey

The Cy-Hawk title hasn’t been given to Iowa State yet after a loss to Iowa in tennis, but the ISU tennis team finished strong, defeating Utah State a day later. 

The ISU team lost to Iowa 4-1 Feb. 6, but rebounded to defeat Utah State 5-2 Feb. 7.

“A big win. We needed that win before the Big 12 conference,” said senior Ksenia Pronina.

The win against Utah State could benefit Iowa State in the rankings later in the year, depending on how the team performs in conference play. ISU coach Armando Espinosa said he could see the team start crawling into the rankings if they don’t have any bad losses against teams this season.

“We didn’t start off fast enough in doubles and didn’t take advantage of the Iowa errors in singles,” said sophomore Samantha Budai.

The team’s main focus was to beat Iowa and take home the Cy-Hawk title for Iowa State, but gymnastics and softball will have to win it. The main problem that the team faced during the Iowa match was the fans and not getting in rhythm right away.

Junior Alejandra Galvis said the Iowa fans were loud during the entire match and the team didn’t expect that many fans for a tennis match. It’s not an excuse, but the volume also didn’t help the team’s rhythm in the beginning of doubles and singles.

The doubles pairings started off slow after falling 3-0 against strong competition.

“I was focused on hitting particular targets during singles instead of making bigger targets and just keeping it in play,” Budai said.

Espinosa made a change in the singles lineup for the Utah State match when he switched Budai to number one and Pronina to two. Espinosa said he and assistant coach Chris Andersen made the decision because he believed Budai had the ability to defeat Iowa’s number one.

“Espinosa asked me before singles started and I didn’t want to seem selfish with the number one spot,” Pronina said. “I trust Espinosa with his decisions and know it will benefit the team positively.”

The team has a week-and-a-half of practice before competing against Northern Iowa on Feb. 18, but the team will carry its conference into future matches. 

“This team is capable of beating any team they play as long as they put their mind and full effort into every match,” Espinosa said. “There’s no way we can lose.”