Moosbacher and Bison Tennis prepare for GAC Title

By Courtlin Haygarth, Assistant Sports Editor

The Oklahoma Baptist Lady Bison claimed the No. 3 side in the upcoming GAC Championship after a week that saw OBU split conference matches, including a non-conference match against Midwestern St.

The week started with their home finale against GAC opponent Henderson St Monday, April 15.

Kim Moosbacher started the week the way she came into the week: dominating.

Moosbacher reached fifth in the nation in Division II singles rankings.

Moosbacher ran through her Henderson St. opponent at No. 1 6-0, 6-0.

Moosbacher is playing at an unprecedented level as she only dropped eight games total in all three matches this week, earning her the GAC Player of the Week.

Since the April 2 match against Cameron University, which was Moosbacher’s last loss, Moosbacher has surrendered 19 games through seven matches, with her opponents averaging just under three games a match against her.

To put that in perspective, in two match wins, Moosbacher picks up 24 games.

The rest of the team against Henderson St. followed in Moosbacher fashion as OBU won 6-1.

Every Lady Bison who did win won in straight sets. OBU captured all the doubles matches as well.

Doubles did not go as planned the next day against Midwestern St. The Lady Bison fell 6-1 in each doubles match.

Singles for the ladies showed Kim Moosbacher, Ethne Dowling, and Alex Bowers getting straight-set wins.

Madeleine Boepple nearly stole the win from MSU as she was just edged out in her second set 7-5 in the tie-breaker.

The Oklahoma Baptist Lady Bison went to face GAC opponent Arkansas Tech for their season finale.

The Lady Bison saw another heartbreaking loss as they fell 4-3 for the second straight game.

Kim Moosbacher and Ethne Dowling got a doubles win for OBU at No. 1 6-3.

The duo of Moosbacher/Dowling went 8-8 on the season.

Despite falling in their respective match against ATU, seniors Alex Bowers and Madeleine Boepple went 7-7 as partners.

In similar fashion to the Midwestern St. match, Moosbacher and Bowers, with the addition of Tahlia Walsh this time around, did their part to get OBU the win as they won their matches, but three wins was all OBU could muster.

Both Bowers and Walsh saw double-digit third set scores as both Lady Bison won in the last frame 10-8 and 12-10, respectively.

Oklahoma Baptist finished its season winning five of their final seven matches for a 4-2 conference record and an 8-13 overall record.

The GAC Championship in Bentonville, Arkansas against is up next with Oklahoma Baptist facing Henderson St., who OBU just defeated 6-1, Thursday, April 25.

If Oklahoma Baptist is able to get past Henderson St., the Bison will take on the No. 2 seed Bisons of Harding Friday, April 26 at 2:00 p.m.

Oklahoma Baptist defeated Harding earlier this month in a close contest 4-3.

Baseball takes ECU, goes against Southern

By Jared A’Lattore, Sports Editor

The Bison baseball team took a big win against East Central University, while taking two losses and another win against Southeastern Oklahoma State. 

The Bison won against ECU two weeks ago on their home field, 13-2. There were five pitchers for the Bison combining seven strikeouts. They only gave up one hit to the ECU Tigers. P.J. Harris finished with a double, and Eric Carlson finished with two doubles. Brett Bloomfield finished was hot on the day, finishing with four at-bats and four hits. Bloomfield went for a triple in one of his hits and was not slowing down all game long.

Jake Gozzo hit a home run giving major momentum to the Bison. Pitcher Hudson Pearson picked up the win as a reliever, and the Bison won the game by a whooping 11 runs.  

During one of their road games against Southeastern, the Bison were staying in the game throughout much of the contest, even when they were down 2-0. Kiamana Bartolome hit a solo home run to cut the lead down to 2-1. Later in the game, Southeastern connected on a home run of their own and another score after that. Southeastern won that game, 5-1.  

During the first game of their doubleheader against Southeastern, the Bison were clicking on all cylinders just like they did a few days back. They won the game with multiple batters contributing. Bloomfield, Ramon Enriquez, Garrett McKee, Brock Carter, and Joey Pledger all hit for doubles in the game.

Harris, Enriquez and McKee all hit for home runs in the game. This was a rout for the Bison, 11-3. Thomas Shroder picked up the win. It was Shroder’s first win of the year.  

The second game of the doubleheader called for payback from Southeastern. Southeastern took a 9-0 lead by the fourth inning. 

Gozzo continued to show his worth with a home run shot in the game, but the Bison fell way short this time. Southeastern picked up an 11-3 win over the Bison.  

Shroder believes that the team has its strengths such as the pitching and the veteran leadership to show that the elite is rising again in 2019.  

“One [strength] being the 12 seniors, including myself, that we have on the roster who have all played together and know what it takes to win a conference tournament and play past that,” Shroder said. “Two, I think we have a deep pitching staff which is something that not having hurt us last year, as well as another very talented lineup.” 

With the season still young, the team is hoping to find its strength and use it to beat teams across the conference and so forth.  

I’m not too sure we have any glaring weaknesses, I think you’ll start to see several guys catch stride as the season goes along and we’ll continue to play knowing we’re the best team in the GAC,” Shroder said.  

Having the strength of not hitting balls, but the mental capacity in which they do it in is very important.  

“We know we’re talented enough as a team to beat anyone in this league at any given time and so it all comes down to having confidence in the work we’ve all put in and our approach when we get the ball/bat in our hands,” Shroder said.  

The team is all about taking one at a time to get back to where they were last year.  

“To get back to an NCAA Regional, we have to go take care of business this weekend at NWOSU and then continue to take the season one game at a time,” Shroder said. 

While the Bison would have loved to have a better start going into 2019, they understand that it is a process to be where they want to be like last season.  

There’s a lot of upside with this group and the coaching staff looks forward to the strides they’ll make throughout the season and the finished product we’ll end up with in May,” Assistant Coach Christopher Cox said. 

The Bison are looking forward to getting better whether it is in practice or games.  

“I think one thing that sticks out especially with the slow start we’ve gotten off to is their resilience,” Cox said. “They come to work every day hungry, looking to get this thing going in the right direction.” 

Cox notices how important the veteran leadership is to the squad. They will look to lead the team to another birth in the Division II postseason.   

“They understand the culture that’s been built here and understand its importance in the winning tradition the program has, Cox said. “Couldn’t be more pleased with this group of guys in how they represent the university, the coaching staff, and themselves.” 

 

Bison and Lady Bison shine at track indoor GAC Championships

By Michael Stewart, Assistant Sports Editor

The Oklahoma Baptist indoor track teams wrapped up the 2019 indoor regular season in style as they swept the top awards in the 2019 Great American Conference Indoor Championships.  

OBU served as host of the two-day meet that began Friday, Feb. 22 at Mosier Center on the campus of the University of Oklahoma in Norman.

The Lady Bison and Bison joined six other GAC teams in the event, including Arkansas Tech, East Central, Harding, Northwestern Oklahoma and Southern Nazarene.  

Other non-conference teams competing were West Texas A&M, Rogers State, Oklahoma Christian, Azusa Pacific, Le Tourneau, and Laverne.  

“We were really excited to compete,” junior JoziRose Mayfield said. “Heading into the meet, we knew we were going to have to come ready to compete.”  

In the meet, the OBU women nearly doubled the points of second-place Harding. OBU finished with 234 points while Harding managed 125.  

“The team really showed up in a big way,” Mayfield said. “This team is really special. Everyone shows support for one another and it really helps everyone perform their best.”  

When the Lady Bison are performing their best, they are tough to beat. Kaylee Crowson earned the title of top female athlete at the event winning the 5000 meters and finishing second in both the one mile and 3000 meters.  

“Kaylee (Crowson) made us all really proud,” Mayfield said. “The way she always competes is very contagious throughout the team.” 

There were plenty of bright spotlights for the Lady Bison, with Cameka Witter and Mckae Mitchell finishing first and second in the 400-meter dash. 

Four more Lady Bison finished in the top 10. Sher Van Der Westhuizen, Candis Rodgers, Beyel Tubbs and Mayfield were in the top 10. Tesa Potter finished first in the 800-meter dash. Brooklynn James finished sixth.

The 4×400 meter relay and distance medley went to the Lady Bison for first.

Peyton Worley got first in the pole vault. Isabella Lotz won the long jump.      

The Bison also cruised to a victory in the meet.

The OBU men scored 278 points more than the second through fifth place finishing teams combined.

Oklahoma Christian finished second with 80 points, which was 200 points behind OBU.  

“Everyone was very focused,” senior Nathan Crowson said. “When we are competing at our best, we are a hard team to beat, and we showed that.” 

The men also claimed top male athlete of the competition. Heptathlon athlete, Hayden Ashley, earned the honor after he won five of the ten competitions and had two other second-place finishes.  

“Hayden (Ashley) is such a competitor,” Crowson said. “He lives for big moments and always steps up to the plate.”  

For the Bison, Mahcoe Smith won the 60-meter dash. The 400-meter dash went to Shirvante Knauls with Sayvon Milton right behind him.

Logan Huslig won the 800-meter dash.

The 4×10 and the distance medley went to the Bison for first as well.

For the high jump, Nathan Worley, Hayden Ashley and Andrew Worley went for first, second and third.

Spencer Lashley finished first in the pole vault and Saleem Fadel finished first in shot put and weight throw.  

This was the first ever Great American Conference Indoor Track and Field Championships, and OBU made easy work of its competition.

The GAC event served as the last opportunity for OBU to add to its growing and lengthy list of NCAA meet qualifiers at next month’s meet in Pittsburg, Kansas. 

The OBU track teams will stay here for Mar. 14 and for Mar. 28 and 29 for the OBU Invitational on Bison Hill.

 

Lady Bison Soccer win GAC conference trophy

By Michael Stewart, Assistant Sports Editor

The Oklahoma Baptist women’s soccer team were crowned Great American Conference Champions Saturday, Nov. 3.

The No. 1 seeded Lady Bi-son defeated No. 2 seeded Southwestern Oklahoma State University 3-2 in overtime to secure the title.

With the win, the Lady Bison earned a bid into the NCAA Central Regional, the first national tournament appearance since making the move to Division II.

“It means so much to see our hard work pay off,” junior Emily Griffith said. “This team is something special.”

The Lady Bison cruised through the GAC, going undefeated in both regular season and conference tournament play.

The win extended their winning streak to 14 games, dating all the way back to Sept. 20.

“We just have a winning mentality,” Griffith said. “Every time we step onto the field, we expect to win.”

In the semi-finals, OBU had to take both of their opponents into overtime.

The Lady Bison took down Ouachita Baptist University 4-2 in penalties after two overtime periods.

Ouachita Baptist gave OBU a tough battle; however, the sheer grit and determination of the Lady Bison saw them earn a spot in the final.

“We definitely expected a tough game against Ouachita because they have played us tough both games in the season,” senior Jennifer Goethe said. “It was frustrating going to PK’s, but our girls were confident and composed.”

In the shootout, goalkeeper Emily Griffith managed a save in the fourth round, setting up junior Reagan Mann to secure the win with a kick of her own.

“Emily [Griffith] is one of, if not the best, goalkeepers in the conference,” Goethe said. “We knew we just had to make our shots because we trusted her to make a big save.”

The win set up a rematch of last season’s tournament final with SWOSU, who defeated Harding University in their semi-final match.

“We expected the final to be a battle,” Griffith said. “We knew it was going to take a team effort to take down SWOSU.”

The matchup proved to be as exciting as expected.

OBU opened the scoring in the 13th minute when junior Kelsey Bumgarner made a run down the right wing, and what seemed to be a cross found its way over the SWOSU keeper and into the far net for a 1-0 advantage.

SWOSU responded minutes later with a goal of their own, bringing the score level at 1-1.

The pace of the match began to slow down, and the teams began to settle into the match.

The score would remain tied at halftime.

Shortly after recess, OBU found themselves down 2-1 after SWOSU buried a cross in the 48th minute.

Once again, the advantage didn’t last long.

Freshman Tori Kitchel curled in a left-footed shot in the 52nd minute that would bring the score level once again.

The rest of regular time was very fast-paced, featuring big plays on both ends.

Griffith came up big time towards the end of the match when she stopped a SWOSU breakaway from resulting in a goal.

“I just trusted my instincts and my teammates,” Griffith said. “They all have my back and encourage me in big moments like that.”

The save proved to be an important one as regular time ended with the score knotted at 2-2.

Two minutes into the first OT period, the Lady Bison would earn what would become the game-winning corner kick.

Goethe curled in cross that would be tucked home by sophomore Hannah White for the game-winning goal.

The match ended 3-2, giving the Lady Bison the title, GAC Tournament Champions.

“I’m so proud of the way our team came out and competed,” junior Ruth King said. “Everyone fought for one another and brought their best efforts all season long.”

The win avenged last season’s heart-breaking tournament loss to SWOSU and capped off a historic season for OBU.

Following the match, senior Kerregan Edwards was named the GAC Tournament MVP, while sophomore Hannah Evans, senior Emmily Infante, Goethe, and White were all named to the GAC All-Tournament team.

For the Lady Bison, the season doesn’t end here.

Oklahoma Baptist (15-4-1) now await their regional assignment, which will be announced Monday, Nov. 5 during a 5:30 p.m. webstream on NCAA.com.

OBU senior cross country runner recognized as runner of the week

By Jared A’Latorre, Sports Editor

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Courtesy Photo / OBU Athletics

The Great American Conference (GAC) recognized senior Sydney Lawrence as the women’s cross-country runner of the week.

The UCO Land Run took place Sept. 1 where Lawrence ran for 18.33.7, which was an individual best.

Along with Southwestern State Oklahoma quarterback Casey Freeman, Lawrence was recognized as one of Oklahoma’s college players of the week for Aug. 27 thru Sept. 2.

This was the first race of the season for Lawrence. Despite feeling shaky about the race, Lawrence adjusted quickly.

“It was September first and I was pretty excited about getting things started again,” Lawrence said. “I knew that this being the first race it was going to feel a little rough, but it always feels good to get into the racing groove again.”

In her first meet back, she and five other runners from OBU finished in the top nine.

“It was great to finish first and contribute, but I definitely believe that I was an equal contributor with the rest of the teammates,” Lawrence said.

However, Lawrence felt as if her teammates were right by her side. She was not alone in her personal contribution to her victory.

“These girls are so dedicated and get the job done and that is the difference maker between winning and losing,” Lawrence said.

Lawrence is a senior from Stilwell, Okla. and has only continued to receive more recognition during her tenure on Bison Hill.

Last year as a junior, she was recognized as an NCAA All-American, All-Region, First-Team All-GAC, a GAC Scholar-Athlete and GAC Runner of the Week in September.

“It’s really cool to have opportunities like this point to Christ as my help and source of strength,” Lawrence said.

Like many other athletes, Lawrence has been through battles of effort and hardships through running.

“The accolades are great, but they didn’t come without work and hard times,” Lawrence said. “I’m so thankful for the platform he has given to me to glorify his name.”

Many have heard the saying, “saving the best for last.” Lawrence said she has confidence in herself and her teammates to make that same outcome possible.

“I think we are about to see the best season yet,” Lawrence said.

The squad is currently led by coach Ford Mastin. For Mastin, this is his 23 years serving as head coach for OBU. Since Mastin took charge, there have been over four hundred All-American awards. He has turned OBU into a historic program. Mastin has coached numerous legendary athletes during his tenure as the head coach of OBU.

Lawrence says that the best of her and her teammates is yet to come. The early boost of this season will drive her to accomplish more.

“I think we are about to see the best season yet,” Lawrence said. “I am so impressed and encouraged by these girls every day and their desire to be the best.”

Just recently, Lawrence appeared in Joplin, Missouri for the Missouri Southern Stampede and did not miss a single beat from her previous accomplishment.

Lawrence finished first for OBU with a time of 17:59.2 in an ugly meet with plenty of heat. Overall, the team finished first in terms of Division II opponents and only lost to two Division I teams. With this result, the team has proved that they can run well in poor weather conditions and look to have a bright future with the season moving forward.

Lawrence and the team will make an appearance in Fayetteville, Arkansas for the Chili Pepper Festival Sept. 22.

Bison clinch playoffs with three game sweep

By Jared L’Attore, Contributing Writer (Courtesy photo/Bison Athletics)

The Bison are playoff bound after concluding their regular season against Southern Nazarene in a three-game series which included Senior Day on Saturday.

The Bison clinched a spot to compete in the Great American Conference (GAC) tournament.

The winner of the tournament will go on to compete in the NCAA Division II playoffs. Senior Zane Gelphman believes that his team has a good shot in the tournament if they do their job on defense.

“In order to go far into the tournament and win, we need to be clean on defense and not allow any free bases. If we take care of the baseball, our hitting and pitching will do their part,” Gelphman said.

OBU has done a splendid job hitting the baseball in the past week. They ended their regular season against Southern Nazarene with a sweep.

Last Friday, Southern Nazarene came into town to take on OBU. The Bison came out roaring through 14 consecutive runs to start the game.

In the first inning of play, junior Jake Gozzo connected on an RBI single. Junior PJ Harris also singled and brought in a run. Senior Matt Poulin connected on a double that brought in two. This was only the beginning of the party for the Bison.

In the third inning, Gelphman hit a line drive down the left field line that went for an inside the park home run. The score was five to nothing through three innings. Senior Josh Timms connected on a double for one run to score. In the fifth inning, the Bison erupted. Poulin hit a single to score in a run.

The Bison also took advantage of errors and scored. They scored on an error, a walk, and a fielder’s choice. Gelphman hit for a double that scored in two, and junior Kaden Betsch also connected on a double that brought in another run.

It was 14-0 after five innings. Southern Nazarene scored three consecutive runs in the sixth inning. In the bottom half of the sixth, Timms, Gozzo, and Gelphman all connected on RBI hits, with Gelphman hitting another double.

Poulin continued his party on a triple with two runs. Junior Brett Bloomfield joined the party on an RBI single. Poulin and Gelphman were on a clinic, going four of five. The Bison won, 20-6. Redshirt Freshman pitcher Caleb Bly earned his sixth win of the season.

In the first game of doubleheader on Senior Day, the Bison trailed one to nothing until junior Brock Carter hit an RBI bunt. Before the bottom 6th, OBU found themselves down 2-1. Poulin scored on a sacrifice fly out from senior Brett Burghammer.

In the seventh inning, Gozzo and Poulin connected on homers. The score was 5-2 at the end of the seventh. In the eighth inning with the Bison leading by two runs, Timms contributed on an RBI after a sacrifice fly out. It was the second run scored from a sacrifice fly out in the game.

Senior Juan Gonzalez hit a home run on his lone hit of the game. The Bison won the first game 7-3.

In the second game of the doubleheader, the Bison erupted in the scoring column after being down 1-0.

In the bottom first, the Bison found themselves down 1-0 until Gelphman connected on a double for two runs to score. In the third inning, again it was Gelphman this time with an RBI single.

In the fourth inning, the Bison kept pounding with more hits. Bloomfield and junior Garrett McKee contributed to RBI hits. The Bison were up 5-1 at the end of the fourth inning.

Southern Nazarene answered on three consecutive runs. In the bottom of the sixth, the game was tied. Timms hit a clutch two-run homer to give the Bison a two-point lead to eventually win the game 7-5.

The Bison have won four straight games and will be heading to Enid for the GAC championship taking place next Saturday and Sunday.

Lady Bison swept by Ouchita, miss out on playoffs

By Michael Stewart, Assistant Sports Editor  (Courtesy photo/Bison Athletics)

The Oklahoma Baptist women’s softball team wrapped up the 2018 season by traveling to Arkadelphia, Ark. to face off against Great American Conference foe Ouachita Baptist University the last weekend of April. The Lady Bison entered the weekend with the hope of earning a playoff berth; they needed to win three out of the four games.

“We knew it was going to be a challenge,” senior shortstop Katie Reyes said. “The team really wanted to leave everything that we had out on the field.”

Unfortunately, the Lady Bison struggled offensively and were defeated in all four of the contests. In the first two games on Friday, the Lady Bison played solid defensively, holding their opponent to one run, but couldn’t get on the scoresheet.

“We came out focused and locked in on every play,” sophomore second baseman Shelby Savage said. “Offensively, we just couldn’t drive in runners.”

In the first contest, the Bison had five hits to Ouachita’s six; however, they were all singles by five different players, and no one was driven in for any runs. Ouachita didn’t get on the board until there were two outs in the sixth inning.

“Katie [Long] pitched a great game,” Savage said. “She was doing everything she needed to do. It was an unlucky loss.”

In the second game of the back-to-back, it was a similar storyline. The Lady Bison posted solid defense through five innings to stay in the game, but had a minor hiccup in the sixth inning that would cost them the game.

OBU struggled again to get any offense going, getting four hits to Ouachita’s five. Junior Bry Flanagan was responsible for two of the four, but no runs could be brought in. The final for both games one and two was 1-0 in Ouachita Baptist’s favor.

“I’m really proud of how the team dug in and gave ourselves a chance to win both games,” Savage said. “The team definitely has a lot to be proud of.”

After losing back-to-back games on Friday, OBU were officially out of playoff contention heading into Saturday.

“As a senior, I knew [they were] going to be my last games as a Bison,” Reyes said. “I approached the last games with all I had left.”

In game three, Ouachita came out red-hot, scoring three runs in the bottom of the first inning, but OBU was able to respond with a run of their own in the top of the second inning after Flanagan smashed a solo homerun to left field.

Ouachita turned around and answered with another run in the bottom of the second to extend their lead to 4-1.

Later, in the top of the fourth inning, OBU scored another run after junior Aspen Grimes drove in sophomore Cheyenne Demaree with a single to left center-field.

This brought the score to 4-2. Once again, Ouachita came right back at OBU with two runs of their own in the bottom of the fourth inning to stretch out their lead, 6-2. The Lady Bison would be unable to overcome the deficit.

“Ouachita is a very dangerous team if you let them get things going,” Savage said. “They didn’t leave anyone on base. They did a good job of driving people in.”

In the final game of the series, OBU were the first on the scoreboard. Savage was driven in off a single from Flanagan, giving OBU a 1-0 lead at the end of the first inning.

Ouachita responded with five runs of their own in the bottom of the second inning to overcome OBU’s one run and get out to a 5-1 lead.

Looking to spark a comeback, Savage came out with a solo homerun in the top of the third, bringing OBU within three runs of the opponent.

Ultimately, Ouachita tightened things up from then on defensively and held OBU scoreless through the last four innings.

They were also able to add another run in the sixth, sealing a 6-2 win. This brought the Lady Bison’s season to an end.

“It was a tough way to see our season end,” Savage said. “But, it doesn’t take away from all the things we accomplished this season.”

For the seniors, it was the last game in a Lady Bison uniform.

“I tried my best to leave a positive legacy on this team all year long,” Reyes said. “I tried to focus more on being a better team player, who was there for her teammates and helped others whenever they needed someone. I hope my legacy lives on.”

With this season in the books, all eyes are on the future of Lady Bison softball.

“I know this team has so much potential for the future,” Reyes said. “We have so many talented individuals and are lethal when we put everything together.”

The Lady Bison ended the season with an overall record of 16-31 and a GAC record of 13-26.

 

Men’s and women’s tennis start strong in GAC play

By Michael Stewart, Assistant Sports Editor  (Courtesy photo/Bison Athletics)

The Oklahoma Baptist men’s and women’s tennis teams have been back in full swing since returning from spring break.

The women’s team began the week by welcoming GAC opponents Arkansas Tech to Shawnee Monday, April 2. Then, both the men’s and women’s teams hit the road and traveled to Arkadelphia, Arkansas to battle Ouachita Baptist University Friday, April 6.

Ultimately, both the men’s and women’s teams were able to win their matches, starting GAC play with a combined record of a perfect 3-0. Thus far, the Lady Bison have proven to be too good for their GAC opponents.

In their opening GAC match versus Arkansas Tech, the Lady Bison came in with a killer mentality.

“We felt really good and well-prepared coming into the match,” junior Alex Bowers said. “The match helped to build our confidence as a team.”

In the match, the Bison were able to jump out to an early lead over Arkansas Tech after they claimed two out of three doubles victories.

The battle of the No. 1’s for doubles was won by the duo of sophomore Kim Moosbacher and senior Kateryna Shkot, with a score of 8-3. Also, the team of Bowers and junior Caroline Abbe claimed a victory in the No. 3 doubles match, 8-5.

“The team really pulled through and did what we needed to do to take care of business,” sophomore Tahlia Walsh said. “Though we were fatigued, we still came out and performed well when it was important.”

The Bison followed doubles with a sweep of all six of the singles matches, which secured an 8-1 team victory over Arkansas Tech.

In their next matchup, the Lady Bison picked up exactly where they left off.

In the three doubles matches, the Lady Bison only surrendered one game. Moosbacher and Shkot started things off with an 8-0 victory in No. 1 doubles. Then junior Madeleine Boepple and Walsh won 8-1 in No. 2 doubles.

Lastly, Abbe and Bowers finished the doubles sweep, winning 8-0. Also, for the second straight match, the Lady Bison secured wins in all six of the singles matches.

“We really believe we will do big things this season,” Walsh said. “We are striving to win conference and make it to nationals.”

The Lady Bison are now a combined 10-4 overall on the season.

“This team is special because everyone gives everything they have into the matches,” Bowers said. “No matter if we win or lose, everyone gives 100 percent.”

The OBU men’s team also faced off against Ouachita Baptist for their first GAC contest of the season.

“We were very excited to open up conference play,” junior Lucas Branco said. “We knew that it would be a close match.”

The Bison went 1-2 in their doubles matches, sophomore Matias Le Forte and Branco took the only doubles match out of the three, winning at No. 2 doubles, 8-2.

Unfortunately, the Bison were forced to forfeit a doubles match due to injury. In singles, the Bison won the matches for No. 2-5, which proved to barely be enough to secure the win against Ouachita Baptist.

Due to injury, senior Babji Atturu was forced to play and ended up being the deciding win in the match.

“The team showed a tremendous amount of heart in the match,” sophomore Gianlucca Galdi said. “We dealt with adversity and we responded well.”

The final score of the match versus Ouachita Baptist was 5-4 in OBU’s favor. This pushed the men’s team to 1-0 in conference and 7-5 overall on the season.

“We were thrilled with the win against Ouachita,” Branco said. “This team has a lot of potential to do great things.”

Something the Bison rely on is their willingness and drive to win matches.

“We have worked for this season all year long,” Galdi said. “The time is finally here to show how good we can be. Our team has a special desire to win, making us dangerous.”

Next for OBU tennis is a matchup versus GAC opponents Southwestern Oklahoma State University in Durant, Okla. Tuesday, April 10.

Men’s tennis show strong performance in singles play

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.