The Iowa State tennis team will host its biggest rival, the Iowa Hawkeyes, in the Iowa Corn Cy-Hawk Series at the LifeTime Fitness Center in Urbandale, Iowa, on March 7 at 4 p.m.

The Cyclones currently have a record of 8-4, meanwhile the Hawkeyes hold a record of 7-4. The Cyclones have only grabbed seven wins in its 46-match history with Iowa. Last season when the rivals met in Iowa City, Iowa State was defeated 5-0.

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Senior Natalie Phippen played for Iowa State Tennis on April 23. Phippen has been a member of the Big 12 Commissioner's Honor Roll and an ISU Scholar-Athlete. She fell 0-6, 0-4 during her match against Katarina Stresnakova of OSU.

The Hawkeyes recently upset No. 48 Notre Dame. The Cyclones are hoping to silence the doubters saying that the odds are not in their favor this week.

Head coach of the women’s tennis team, Armando Espinosa is looking forward to the annual Cy-Hawk showdown.

“We are more ready than ever," Espinosa said. "We are in a better standing now then we were last year when we faced the Hawkeyes."

The Cyclones are coming in as the underdogs for this match and are hoping to continue the win streak and hope to continue playing well consistently. 

“We are just going to come out and play hard, just like any other match. We are not going to get in our own heads," Espinosa said. "We can compete against the best teams, we just have to go out there and play our game”.

During the week the Cyclones will be going easy, since they just got back from North Florida. The Cyclones had the day off this past Sunday, and will be playing some singles and doubles matches in practice.

“This week we will get back to playing indoors, and just getting the timing back," Espinosa said. "We are also getting ready for Wyoming as well, it will be a short turn around after we face the Hawkeyes."

Sophomore Margarita Timakova went 2-1 last weekend at the No. 3 position in singles and doubles, with her doubles match going unfinished against Mercer.

“I have been practicing a lot in doubles recently, working on how to play more aggressive at the net and at the baseline," Timakova said. “Coming to America was very challenging at first since I did not know how to speak English, but I had great friends and coaches who helped me to get where I am now."

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Senior Samantha Budai played for Iowa State Tennis on April 23. She went against Viktoriya Lushkova of Oklahoma and fell 0-6. They fell 0-4 against Oklahoma. 

Timakova has many goals for this season but her mission is just to keep winning as much as possible and help her team get as many victories as possible.

“I’m very excited for this weekend, it will be a good challenge to go up against our biggest rival, but we are ready," Timakova said.

Junior Annabella Bonadonna also had success last weekend against North Florida and is hoping to continue that success this week. 

“This week I need to be more aggressive and keep having a good attitude throughout the matches," Bonadonna said. "If I have a good attitude the wins will come."

Timakova was victorious last weekend due to her positive attitude and hopes to keep that mentality going for Iowa.

“I missed many points, ones I wish I could get back," Bonadonna said. "I know I am important to the team so thats what motivates me and sometimes in matches I influence whether we win or lose."

Even after having great success this season for the Cyclones, Bonadonna confessed that she still has work to do.

“I need to improve my serve. I lost a couple points because the ball would not get into play," Bonnadonna said. "My serve will play a key role this week."

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Senior Samantha Budai played for Iowa State Tennis on April 23. This was the final home match for Budai. She earned the first-ever national ranking by a Cyclone tennis player. 

Bonnadonna has many goals for this season such as to keep improving every week, and to help her team win.

“My goal is to beat Iowa for sure," Bonadonna said. "I’m getting mentally ready to also beat West Virginia and Kansas."

"My biggest goal is getting into the first round for the Big 12’s."

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