The Iowa State tennis team (5-8) heads down to Kansas to face both Kansas (5 p.m. Friday) and Kansas State (11 a.m. Sunday) this weekend.
With Kansas (13-4) being ranked and Kansas State (10-9) just dropping out of the rankings this past week, the Cyclones are looking forward to both weekend matchups as a chance to prove what they have.
Although the Cyclones face two high quality opponents, the team isn’t focused on that. Coach Boomer Saia said everyone will be challenged during these two matchups but he wants his players to compete hard and not play the ranking but just play the player across the net.
Annabella Bonadonna, a current senior leader on the team, said she is looking at this weekend as just another opportunity to go out and do what they do best.
“It doesn’t matter who we are playing, we practice every day to beat anyone in the country,” Bonadonna said.
Currently, the Cyclones have lost five matches in a row. Iowa State's last win came 4-3 against Nebraska March 3.
Since then, the Cyclones have lost 4-1 to Minnesota, and made four consecutive losses to Big 12 foes Texas Christian (TCU), Texas Tech, Oklahoma State and Oklahoma.
After having a weekend off, the team has had the “chance to reflect, get back to the fundamentals and get back to high energy and high competitiveness,” Saia said.
Regina Espindola, another senior leader on the team, said that in order to get out of this rut the team has to focus on getting the doubles point first. Saia agreed, and said he believes it will help the team generate some momentum since they haven’t done that in the past few matches.
Bonadonna is ready to take on the weekend with full force.
"It’s tough to have lost five in a row but it’s important to not have that score in our minds and to just play for ourselves and the rest of the team," Bonadonna said.
The Cyclones are coming into this weekend with a competitive and positive energy that they will need on the road against two difficult opponents.
"It’s important to maintain the belief and do what we do and keep believing," Saia said. "It’s what we preach.”
With a confident mindset and pure excitement to get back on the courts this weekend, the Cyclones are looking to come out of this weekend with positive results.