The Big 12 tennis championships will consist of 10 teams including Iowa State.
At 10 a.m. this Thursday, April 26, the Iowa State Cyclones will face the Oklahoma Sooners in Austin, Texas, in the first round of the Big 12 Championships.
Earlier this week three Cyclones were recognized as Academic All-Big 12 members.
Sophomore Karen Alvarez and double partners Regina Espindola and Erin Freeman were named to the first team, this achievement recognizes student-athletes with a 3.20 GPA or higher with more than one year of academic residence.
Coach Armando Espinosa was very pleased to hear of their academic achievement.
“Espindola, Freeman and Alvarez are all very committed to their academics, it's a testament that they’re students before athletes," Espinosa said. "I am very proud to be their coach."
This week during practices the Cyclones have been focusing on more individual practices such as working on a player's own strengths and weaknesses. They have also been watching tape on Oklahoma and even their own tape, learning from their mistakes.
“We have played Oklahoma earlier this season and the last time we met the score was very close,” Espinosa said. "We need to capitalize on the doubles point this week in order to be successful."
Last weekend the Cyclones met TCU and Texas Tech but could not secure a win in either match.
“We played very well outdoors considering we have been playing indoors most of the season due to the ever-changing weather,” Espinosa said. "I was quite surprised we adapted extremely well and we played very hard.”
The Cyclones are on a six-game losing streak currently, so there are some improvements that need to be made.
“We need to come out and just be more confident in our play,” Espinosa said. "Once we get some wins I think that will help overcome some nervousness.”
Espinosa has been in this position many times before and is not fazed whatsoever about the championships.
“There is always pressure during the Big 12's, but there is always pressure in every other match we have played, we take every match seriously,” Espinosa said. "We need to come out and play loose and confident in order to be successful.”
After the Big 12 Championships, the season will come to a close. This season the team has gone through many obstacles but have persevered.
“The team is in a great spot right now,” Espinosa said. "We have never been in a position that most of our players are coming back, we are a very young team.”
Espinosa is not focused on next year, currently, he is looking forward to facing Oklahoma on Thursday and looking to move on to the next round of the championships.
“We’re a good team, if we catch lightning in a bottle we can beat anybody,” Espinosa said.