Michael Stewart, Assistant Sports Editor
The Oklahoma Baptist Women’s Tennis team secured five championships at the Great American Conference Individual Tournament in their first appearance on Saturday, September 23. The Lady Bison ended their 2016-2017 season with an overall record of 27-3, and they have high expectations to continue their success throughout this year’s campaign.
“Heading into the tournament, we all really wanted to win,” sophomore Tahlia Walsh said. “We are really trying to be prepared for our season next semester.”
Well, the Lady Bison showed their sheer talent as they dominated the day. The Lady Bison Claimed four individual championships of seven championships possible, as well as one doubles championship. Sophomore Kim Moosbacher claimed the first GAC individual title after defeating Alexsandra Relijic of Southeastern Oklahoma State in the finals, 6-0, 7-5. Senior Kateryna Shkot earned OBU’s second individual championship after beating Harding’s Gabriella Alves in a grueling 5-6,6-0, 15-13 championship match. In addition to their individual championships, Moosbacher and Shkot won the Flight 1 doubles championship for OBU after defeating Southeastern, 8-3. Junior Alex Bowers claimed OBU’s third individual championship after beating Hana Folse of Harding 6-3, 6-3. After two victories in straight sets to advance to the finals, Caroline Abbe earned the fourth and final individual title after a victory by retirement over Maria Martinez of Southeastern in the finals.
“Everyone fought very hard against some very good competition,” Bowers said. “Everyone was really proud of how we performed for our first showing of the year.”
In addition, Tahlia Walsh earned third place after going 2-1 with wins over Arisa Takanashi of Harding and Teresa Sanchez of Arkansas Tech. Also, sophomore Jacqueline Charvat went 1-1, earning a win against Madeline Cook of Henderson State, 8-3.
“The team this year has many strengths,” Walsh said. “Our team is very competitive and determined to succeed. We know that we have to work together to be successful.”
With the opening tournament now in the rearview mirror, the Lady Bison look to continue to grow as individuals and as a team before next semester. Now that the Division II National Tournament is a possibility for the Lady Bison, they have their sights set high.
“Our team is focused on two things,” Bowers said. “One of our goals is to win the Great American Conference Title. Our other goal is to qualify for the Division II National Tournament.”
Next up for the Lady Bison is the ITA Central Regional Championships in Bolivar, Missouri beginning on Friday, September 29.