The Oklahoma Baptist Bison enter 2019 with a pre-season Great American Conference ranking of 5th, preceded by Southern Arkansas, Ouachita Baptist, Harding, and Southeastern Oklahoma St. with the top spot.
After a 1-2 GAC record in last year’s conference play, OBU will have a lot of people to prove wrong as their lone conference win last year came against Ouachita Baptist. Harding, this year’s pre-season #2 ranked GAC team, bettered OBU twice last year, including in the end-of-year GAC Tournament.
OBU had quite the turnover from last year to this year as they lost Daniel Aguilera, Babji Atturu, and Luis Romero to graduation, as well as OBU’s No. 1 from last year, Lucas Castelo Branco, who transferred to Division I Oklahoma. Returning for the Bison are juniors Kevin Andrusch, Gianlucca Galdi, and Matias Le Fort. Freshmen Harrison Boggs, Ashish Komaragiri, and Rhett Rollins, as well as JUCO transfer Andres Graterol round out the new faces for the OBU Men.
Gianlucca Galdi saw the most success in October’s GAC Individual Championships as he made it to the finals in Flight 1. Flight 1 for doubles showed Andres Graterol and Kevin Andrusch make it to the consolation finals.
The year’s conference play will not begin until March 30th when Oklahoma Baptist takes to Magnolia, Arkansas to face Southern Arkansas. OBU will start and finish conference play within a month as their last conference match will come against Harding on April 12th.
In the men’s exhibition match against Abilene Christian, two of the three doubles matches went the Bison’s way. However, saturday morning showed a lone win from freshmen Rhett Rollins with junior Gianlucca Galdi 7-6. Before that, OBU dropped their doubles matches at No. 1 and 3, giving Metro. St. the doubles nod before Rollins and Galdi could even secure the win with the previous matches ending first.
With the Roadrunners of Metro. St. up 1-0, OBU needed four singles matches to take the overall match. The Bison earned zero singles wins in their exhibition match. Starting out, OBU went 1-1 with a loss from Matias Le Fort and a win from Andres Graterol. Following suit to Graterol was Kevin Andrusch at No. 1 with a three-set win after dropping the first.
With the match tied up 2-2, OBU needed two more matches to take the match. Galdi fell just short as he dropped his third set 2-6 after it being tied 1-1. After a Rhett Rollins loss, the match rested on Nick Parker’s shoulders. Nick, a senior, is playing his first year of collegiate tennis ever after freshman Harrison Boggs proved ineligible to play this year. Parker dropped his first set 1-6 before storming back in the 2nd only to fall 5-7.
Oklahoma Baptist will return to Shawnee before taking a short trip to Oklahoma City on February 9th where they will take on the Washburn Ichabods at neutral site Oklahoma City Tennis Center. Last year in the same location, the Bison fell to the Ichabods 4-5.
The Lady Bison as the defending GAC champions are three days out from their first match of the Spring 2019 season. They will go into that match with pre-season rank #1 in the GAC next to their name. OBU led the way in the pre-season poll followed by Henderson, Arkansas Tech, Southern Arkansas, Southeastern Oklahoma St. Henderson St., and Ouachita Baptist rounding it off.
Last year the Lady Bison went 6-0 in conference play, including Harding, this year’s pre-season rank #2 in the GAC, twice. One of those victories over Harding was on the way to claiming the GAC tournament title after defeated Southeastern Oklahoma St. in the final.
Returning from last year’s championship team are seniors Madeleine Boepple and Alex Bowers, along with juniors Kim Moosbacher, Tahlia Walsh, and Jacqueline Charvat. OBU graduated Kateryna Shkot, Caroline Abbe, and Megan Bowlin. Filling the void left by Shkot, Abbe, and Bowlin will be freshmen Ethne Dowling and Landrey Johnson, as well as JUCO transfer Stefy Varon from Hinds Community College.
The GAC Individual Championships earlier in October showed Lady Bison Alex Bowers win herself a Flight 3 championship alongside Madeleine Boepple and Kim Moosbacher who claimed the doubles title in their respective Flight.
The Oklahoma Baptist Lady Bison’s trip to Colorado ended with a season-opening loss to Metropolitan St. – Denver 5-2. This loss came one day after OBU lost an exhibition match to Division I Air Force 7-0.
Lady Bison duo Madeleine Boepple/Kim Moosbacher got the lone doubles victory for OBU at 6-4. Moosbacher also attributed to OBU’s point total with a singles win at No. 1 along with Alex Bowers at No. 3. Tahlia Walsh at No. 4 recovered from her 6-0 1st set loss with a 6-1 2nd set win before dropping the 3rd 6-1.
The 0-1 Oklahoma Baptist Lady Bison return to Bison Hill before making the short trip to Oklahoma City on February 9th to take on the Washburn Lady Ichabods at neutral site Oklahoma City Tennis Center. The Lady Bison were winners over the Lady Ichabods 6-3 when they met last year at the same location.
Oklahoma Baptist will see their first conference action Saturday, March 30th when they travel to Magnolia, Arkansas to take on Southern Arkansas before closing their season with five straight GAC matches.