By Courtlin Haygarth, Assistant Sports Editor
In search for their first win, Oklahoma Baptist headed to Springfield, Mo. to take on the No. 20 Drury Panthers Feb. 15 and then the Lindenwood Lions, who were also looking for their first win, Feb. 16.
“We are going to have to play well to beat either of those teams,” Head Coach Jason Proctor said. “I think we have a chance in both of those matches if we play as good as we can play.”
This will be the third year in a row that Oklahoma Baptist will have traveled to Springfield to take on Drury and Lindenwood. The Bison Men have split the series each of the last two years as each of the last two years OBU has found their first win of their season on this road trip.
On Friday, things started out promising as they took the doubles point with wins at No. 1 with Gianlucca Galdi/Kevin Andrusch and No. 2 with Matias Le-Fort/Andres Graterol, both matches ending in a 7-6 score in favor of the Bison. With needing only three victories in singles to take the match, the Bison only got one from freshman Rhett Rollins 6-7, 6-4, 10-5 as the Bison fell 5-2. This was Rollins’ first singles win of the season.
For the women, this was the first time in three years the Lady Bison headed to Springfield for their back-to-back against the Drury Lady Panthers and Lindenwood Lady Lions winless. The last two years OBU has made the trip with a win already under their belt.
For the Lady Bison, doubles came and went pretty fast as both Drury’s No. 1 and No. 2 girl’s duos won 6-1 and 6-2. The up-hill climb facing OBU of needing to win four of the six singles matches was nearly completed as Tahlia Walsh, Ethne Dowling, and Stefy Varon all found the winning column.
Kim Moosbacher and Alex Bowers, after taking their respective first sets, could not close the deal as they both ended up losing in three and the overall match 4-3.
In the Lindenwood match, Sweet Victory may not have been played at halftime of the Super Bowl, but the spirit lived on in Springfield on Saturday afternoon as both Bison teams logged their first wins of the season.
After capturing the doubles point, the Bison Men got all four of their singles victories in straight sets. Rhett Rollins left his first trip to Springfield as a Bison undefeated in singles.
The Lady Bison continued their dominant streak over Lindenwood with a third straight sweep of the Lady Lions 7-0. Madeleine Boepple, who had been the Lady Bison’s No. 2, was put at No. 4 for this match after going 0-3 in singles to begin the season. Coach Proctor spoke on the issue of his teams’ winning formula and this position shift decision.
“Proud of the way our players played today,” Proctor said. “We have full confidence in what we are doing as a team and how we are going about it. We have lost a couple matches so far this year against very strong – but also beatable – teams. I’m proud of these wins because we didn’t change anything, we didn’t panic, and we continued to go about our business with the knowledge that, at the end of the day, our diligence will yield favorable results.”
Proctor is willing to do anything to lead the team to victory and will take advantage of the players he has.
“No strategy there. Just putting together the best possible lineup we can on each day to give OBU Tennis a chance to win. This situation is very fluid right now as we have a lot of girls who are evenly matched with one another. It all comes down to who is playing the best tennis at the moment.”
Whatever message Proctor was or was not sending, Boepple heard it loud and clear as she played her best tennis of the short season on Saturday as she was a terror to her opponent, winning 6-0, 6-0 with each Lady Bison winning in straight sets.
Oklahoma Baptist Tennis will make their first appearance on Bison Hill of the season on Saturday, Feb. 23 when Kansas Wesleyan comes to town. Match time is at 11:00 that morning. Both Bison squads will look to make it two in a row.