By Michael Stewart, Assistant Sports editor (Courtesy photo/Bison Athletics)
The Oklahoma Baptist men’s tennis team hit the road during the week of spring break to square up against Emporia State University and Western New Mexico University.
The first matchup with Emporia State University March 19 was unable to be played due to rain; however, the Bison’s road trip continued on to Western New Mexico University March 22.
“We felt as if we were the favorite going into to the matchup,” senior Luis Romero said. “We knew we had to show up ready to play because it wasn’t going to be easy.”
The Bison entered the contest having gone 5-3 in their first eight matches, including two consecutive wins.
“This team has the pieces to put together something special,” assistant coach Thomas Ackernecht said. “They have all played together for many years, so the team chemistry is incredible. Everyone fights for each other because we are one family.”
Despite the canceled match against Emporia State, the OBU team didn’t miss a beat.
The Bison claimed the only doubles victory at number three, 8-5.
In singles, numbers two through six secured the wins for the Bison, giving the Bison a 5-1 win in the singles matches.
All of the singles victories came in straight sets.
“The team had an all-around solid performance against Western New Mexico University,” Romero said. “Though we do have areas to improve, our singles performances have been outstanding. We showed that against our opponents.”
For singles matches, the Bison have a current win percentage of 59.3 percent on the season.
They are led by sophomore Matias Le Fort, who has an overall record of 7-2, and sophomore Gianlucca Galdi, who has an overall record of 6-1.
“Everyone is very confident in each other’s abilities,” Ackernecht said. “To repeat the success that we had last year, it is important that everyone has a strong mentality.”
A slight blemish so far has been the team’s performance in doubles competitions. Currently, the Bison hold a winning percentage of 48.1 percent.
Despite their struggles, the team is confident that they will get back to where they need to be in the standings.
“The good thing is that we know where we need to get better,” Romero said. “We are committed to making improvements.”
The Bison are coming off of a record-setting season in 2017, so all of the expectations are high for the 2018 campaign.
“We feel that we have a very good chance at repeating as GAC champions,” Romero said. “That’s our main goal right now. Then we will focus on a run at regionals.”
Coming up, the Bison open GAC play in Arkansas against Ouachita Baptist University April 6, followed by a trip to Durant, Oklahoma to face Southeastern Oklahoma State University April 10.