Cyclone Tennis Recaps Fall, Looks Ahead to Spring
AMES, Iowa- Now that the Iowa State tennis team has wrapped up the fall season, head coach Armando Espinosa is pleased with results and looks ahead to the spring.
At the end of the fall season, six of eight Cyclones hold winning records in singles. Sophomore Ana Gasparovic (10-7) and junior Meghan Cassens (10-6) lead the team in wins, followed closely by freshmen Samantha Budai (9-5) and Lydia Green (9-3).
“[Those records] kind of shows that we were moving in the right direction with singles,” Espinosa said.
At the end of the fall, Green leads the team in win percentage. The Melton, England native ended the first leg of her college career, winning 75% of matches played in three tournaments this fall. Green walked away with a third-place finish in her first shot at collegiate action at the Gopher Invitational in September, before stepping up her game a week later to bring home a second-place finish from the UNI Invitational.
“I was pretty happy with the freshmen and the way they’ve been playing,” Espinosa said. “It’s a completely different thing when you’re coming in at 17 and trying to play a 22-year-old. There’s three or four years of just a mental stability that you have when you’re playing. You don’t panic, and those kinds of things really show up on the court.”
Looking forward, Espinosa hopes to see improvement in a big part of ISU’s game when spring comes.
“Right now we’re in the eight hour training schedule with only two hours of individual skill practice so that’s the two hours that we get a week, all we’re spending it doing is doubles,” Espinosa said. “I really feel that when we step on the court, if we can get the doubles point, it’s going to make a huge difference. When you start 1-0, it’s going to release the pressure.”
Aside from doubles improvement, the Cyclones will rely on team atmosphere to set them apart from a recruiting standpoint. With a small team like Iowa State’s, Espinosa says that one doubter can bring down the whole team.
“Our ‘wow factor,’ or our niche in recruiting is the coaching staff and the team. So hopefully that team will become more cohesive, because that’s what’s going to win the matches that are tough,” Espinosa said. “If one person is not confident with how they’re playing, it can only hurt you, but if everybody gets everybody’s back, it’s only going to help.”
ISU will be back in full force in January, taking on Florida Gulf Coast in their first dual match on the 17th in Fort Myers, Fla. Fans can catch the team a week later on the 24th in their first home match against Southeast Missouri State.