Tennis earns wins against UAFS and A&M Texarkana

By Courtlin Haygarth, Assistant Sports Editor

National and conference recognitions pile up for the Oklahoma Baptist Lady Bison in a strong week of tennis.

GAC competition has been friendly towards OBU.

After losing seven in a row, OBU has rattled off four consecutive wins as of Sunday, April 14.

This included three conference match victories in a row.

With the potential to make it four in a row, they face GAC-foe Henderson St. Monday, April 15 right here on Bison Hill.

Through the course of their winning streak, the Lady Bison have posted two shutouts while squeaking out their other two matches 4-3.

Alex Bowers went 4-0 in singles over the week, earning her GAC Player of the Week honors.

Bowers is now 11-7 on the season.

Lady Bison Kim Moosbacher is gaining national recognition.

With her 15-2 singles record at No. 1, Moosbacher was ranked No. 9 in the ITA Division II Women’s National Singles Rankings.

Only four of her 15 wins have gone three sets.

Moosbacher has been dominating on the court and she will hope to continue her efforts for the big dance in a week.

The Oklahoma Baptist Women are now 7-11 on the season.

Three of those seven wins are against GAC opponents as OBU holds a 3-1 conference record.

With the Arkansas Tech match initially meant for Saturday, April 13 being postponed, that match will spell the conference finale for OBU.

OBU’s final non-conference match is Tuesday, April 16 against Midwestern State-Texas.

With the GAC match against Henderson St. Monday, April 15 and then one more conference match to follow, the Lady Bison are looking to go 5-1 over GAC competition.

Play appears very similar to last year’s team that swept through conference play and won the GAC Championship.

With the GAC Championship just over a week away, the Lady Bison have their eyes set on hardware in Bentonville.

OBU Tennis looks for success with conference matches

By Courtlin Haygarth, Assistant Sports Editor

With the season in full swing, the Oklahoma Baptist Tennis team will be around Bison Hill a lot for the coming days.

OBU’s Tennis teams will see seven matches this month; four at home for the Lady Bison and five for the men.

As well as the GAC Championships to complete their season.

Spring Break, the midway season of the semester, is here and gone. April, the longest month of the school year, is upon us. Everything seems to happen in April.

With the first half of the season done, which included three Division I opponents in Air Force, Abilene Christian and Southern Methodist, the Bison Men are 5-5 and the Lady Bison are 3-10.

As a mid-season review, we sat down with Coach Proctor to discuss his Oklahoma Baptist squad.

Coach Proctor’s takeaways from the season so far and looking ahead to conference play were the topics of discussion.

Proctor talked about the thick and the thin going through the season. He feels a different vision going into conference play.

“I think both teams are on a good track right now,” Proctor said. “Each side we have had some good matches and some bad matches… some matches that were winnable that we lost. We have also had a couple matches that we won that we very well could have lost. We played a very tough non-conference schedule.”

The mindset is to be positive and the wins will follow in the long run.

“My take is that we are in a good position and we are right where we need to be to go into conference play fresh and feeling confident,” he said.

Proctor said he believes that his boys and girls can go into every match and succeed if they have the right mindset.

“We need to focus on ourselves is what we need to do,” Proctor said. “We are good enough tennis players and a good enough team to, in my opinion, win every single match. That being said, we are also capable of losing every single match.”

The players also have to accept what position they will be in by the end of the season.

“We can peak that high or we can dip that low,” Proctor said. “I have excepted that reality and I think our players understand that reality too. What we need to do is be very, very focused on ourselves.”

If the players feel confident playing their game, Proctor can vision them being winners.

“We know our level and we know if we play [at our] level we are going to do just fine and we will be very successful in conference,” he said. “All in all, what do we need to do play well in conference? Keep doing what we are doing.”

Leading the way for each Bison squad is Kevin Andrusch and Matias Le-Fort, who are each 7-3 in singles on the season.

For the Lady Bison, Kim Moosbacher has been a huge bright spot in a rather poor season thus far for the women as she is 11-1 at No. 1 singles.

After dropping their conference opener against Southern Arkansas, Oklahoma Baptist will finish out their conference season April 13 as OBU will see four matches in eight days.

Their next action will be at home against conference opponent Ouachita Baptist Friday, April 5 at 3:00 p.m. Followed by a 10:00 a.m. match time against another GAC-foe, Henderson State, Saturday, April 6.

OBU Tennis team earns victory in Springfield

By Courtlin Haygarth, Assistant Sports Editor

The rematch was set, and the Bison and Lady Bison were on the road. 

The Lady Bison headed out to Tahlequah to take on the Northeastern State Lady Riverhawks Friday, Feb. 22 and the Bison headed South to Dallas, Texas for an exhibition match against Division I Southern Methodist.

Last year the Lady Bison met the Lady Riverhawks in the Finals of the NCAA Championships Central Region. 

OBU was unable to pick up a single doubles match, giving NSU the early 1-0 lead heading into singles.

Kim Moosbacher got her revenge against Lady Riverhawk Tatjana Stoll from the doubles match with a three set 6-4, 4-6, 7-5 win at No. 1.

Tahlia Walsh and Madeleine Boepple both got singles victories. 

With needing just one more victory to seal the match, Alex Bowers tried to give OBU the win after dropping her first set 6-0 as she pushed the match to a third set before falling 7-5.

Due to time constraints, the matches at Nos. five and six were changed to an eight game pro set, of which the Lady Bison lost both. NSU got the slight edge 4-3. 

After the Bison Men returned from Dallas, Oklahoma Baptist made their way to Sooner country in Norman, Okla. against the Kansas Wesleyan Coyotes.

Due to weather concerns, this match was relocated from Bison Hill.

This was the first time these two teams had met. 

For the men, this was the Coyotes’ first match of 2019.

They came in 1-2 with their last loss coming against Washburn 6-1. OBU lost to Washburn 6-1.

On the women’s side of things, the Lady Coyotes are 0-2, having only logged one point in those two matches.

This, too, was their first match of 2019. Both men’s and women’s squads got the win over the Kansas Wesleyan Coyotes 5-2 and 7-0, respectively. 

Both Bison teams won doubles, including a narrow 7-6 doubles victory from Andres Graterol and Matias Le-Fort to give the men the nod.

The women won each of their doubles matches 6-1 as KWU had to forfeit the third doubles match. Both squads were dominant in singles.

The men’s singles victories all came in straight sets and with the exception of Gianlucca Galdi’s 7-5 second set win, every set was 6-2 or better on the side of the Bison.

The ladies showed utter domination as they only gave up two games in all of the four singles matches with Alex Bowers and Madeleine Boepple having 6-0, 6-0 wins.  

Prior to their Feb. 26 match against University of Arkansas Fort Smith, Bison duo Andrusch/Galdi are now 4-0 as doubles partners at the No. 1 slot in regular season matches. Graterol/Le-Fort are 3-1 at No. 2. Lady Bison Moosbacher is 5-1 in No. 1 singles. Boepple is 3-0 in the No. 4 slot and has seen two 6-0, 6-0 victories. It seems Coach Proctor may have found something. Up next for the Oklahoma Baptist Men is their home opener. 

The 5-2 Texas A&M-Texarkana Eagles will come to Bison Hill March 1, followed by Western New Mexico on March 2, also at home. The next three Bison tennis matches will be in front of their home crowd.

The Bison Women have a back-to-back in San Angelo, Texas against St. Edward’s and Angelo St. March 1 and 2. Last year, the Lady Bison defeated St. Edward’s at home 8-1.  

 

OBU Tennis team earns victory in Springfield, Missouri

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 sendingBoepple 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.   

 

 

 

 

 

 

OBU tennis ranked high for spring

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.     

 

Women’s Tennis brings home the GAC title; men’s team falls to Harding

By Albert Monge, Contributing Writer  (Courtesy photo/Bison Athletics)

The Oklahoma Baptist men’s tennis team traveled to Bentonville, Arkansas to compete in the Great American Conference tournament on Friday, April 20.

The Bison met Harding University in the fi rst round, a team that dominated OBU 1-5 just a week prior.

“We knew that we were going to have to come out focused and ready to play,” sophomore Gianlucca Galdi said. “They are a really solid team.”

Though the Bison entered the contest ready for action, Harding proved too much in the doubles matches.

Harding took a commanding 3-0 lead over OBU after sweeping all of the doubles competitions.

“It was really unlucky that we weren’t able to take a doubles match from them,” junior Lucas Branco said. “The good thing was that we didn’t give up. The team really rallied and made a push for a big comeback.”

Sophomore Kevin Andrusch was the first Bison in the win column with a win at No. 4 singles, 6-1, 6-0.

“After the team got a win, the team’s confidence sky-rocketed,” Branco said. “After falling behind, we knew that our margin for error was very small.”

As the matches continued, so did the comeback. Senior Babji Atturu overcame a 4-1 deficit to give OBU another win, 6-4, 6-1, at No. 6 singles to close the gap on Harding.

At No. 1 singles, Galdi took care of business, winning in three sets 6-1, 2-6, 6-2.

At No. 3 singles, sophomore Matias Le Fort was leading, but Harding clinched the win after winning at No. 2 singles, ending the Bison’s bid for an epic comeback.

“I was really proud of the team and the desire to comeback that everyone showed,” Galdi said. “This team is very special and fought for each other every match this season.”

The final score in the semi-final matchup was 5-3, Harding.

Unfortunately, the Bison were unable to repeat as Great American Conference tournament champions, but that doesn’t take away from the team’s accomplishments this season.

“Trying to repeat as champions is always very difficult,” Branco said. “Although we weren’t able to win, I’m still proud to be a Bison and a member of this team.”

The GAC championship will be played between Harding and Southeastern Oklahoma State Saturday, April 21.

For the Bison, their final match of the season will be Tuesday, April 24 versus Abilene Christian University in Abilene, Texas.

The Oklahoma Baptist women’s tennis team won their first ever Great American postseason championship after defeating Southeastern State University 5-2 on Saturday, April 22.

“It is a really good feeling to win something for the first time,” junior Alex Bowers said. “The biggest key to winning was getting quick starts in our doubles matches and coming out strong in all of our matches.”

After falling behind 2-1 in doubles to Harding the day before in the semi-finals.

However, the Lady Bison wrote a new script against Southeastern Oklahoma State, winning two out of the three doubles matches to take an early lead.

The duo of senior Kateryna Shkot and sophomore Kim Moosbacher earned a win at No. 1 doubles, 8-5.

Also, sophomore Tahlia Walsh and junior Madeleine Boepple secured an 8-6 victory at No. 2 doubles.

“The team really came out and performed when it mattered most today,” Moosbacher said. “Everyone was fully focused, and dialed in on every play.”

Women’s tennis claims regular season title; men’s team falls to Harding

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

The Oklahoma Baptist women’s tennis team claimed the Great American Conference regular season title after defeating Harding University Friday, April 13. The Lady Bison dominated the match, winning 5-1.

“It was a special experience,” junior Alex Bowers said. “The team really stepped up to the occasion. I was really proud of how everyone played.”

The Lady Bison got out to an early 2-1 lead over Harding after the doubles matchups.

At No. 1 doubles, the duo of senior Kateryna Shkot and sophomore Kim Moosbacher secured an 8-3 victory over their opponents. Also, the No. 3 doubles pair of Bowers and junior Caroline Abbe were able to earn another 8-3 win.

“Throughout the matches, everyone kept a positive attitude,” Bowers said. “Having a whole team behind you makes all the difference.”

At singles, Shkot, Moosbacher, and junior Madeleine Boepple earned victories at Nos. 1, 2, and 5 to clinch the match. Walsh and Bowers were both winning their singles matches at the time; however, the final result was already official.

“Everyone played really well,” sophomore Tahlia Walsh. “This is a special team with big goals.”

This marks the second regular season title in three seasons for the Lady Bison. OBU finished the regular season with a perfect 6-0 GAC record, and a 12-4 record overall.

“We are firing on all cylinders right now,” Walsh said. “We are really looking forward to the conference tournament.”

The Lady Bison finish the regular season at Abilene Christian Univeristy April 24.

The Oklahoma Baptist men’s tennis team also squared off with Harding in the Great American Conference finale, but the Bison were defeated. The Bison entered the match looking to bounce back from a loss on April 10 to Southwestern Oklahoma State University; however, Harding ultimately dominated the match.

“We came into the match excited to play,” junior Lucas Branco said. “We knew that they were going to be a solid opponent.”

Sophomore Kevin Andrusch and sophomore Gianlucci Galdi secured the only doubles victory for the Bison at No. 1 doubles, 9-7. This left the Bison in a deep hole heading into singles matches; they were unable to overcome the deficit. Galdi and Matias Le Fort were leading their singles matches, but were cut short because Harding had already secured the win.

“Despite the loss, this team never gave up,” Branco said. “I’m very proud of our effort.”

The loss pushed the Bison to 1-2 in GAC play and 7-7 overall.

“Our main focus now is doing well in the postseason tournament,” Galdi said. “However, first we want to close out the regular season on a high note.

The Bison will also conclude the regular season April 24 at Abilene Christian University.

Last Week in Bison Sports

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The Lady Bison softball team split their series with East Central this past weekend. The Bison won the first game of the weekend 9-3, but were unable to continue their success through the second game which they lost 16-8. The Bison will be at home this weekend to face off against Southern Nazarene.

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Kevin Andrusch and his doubles partner Gianlucca Galdi (not pictured) scored the only win for the Bison last weekend at Harding University.

 

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The Lady Bison lacrosse team traveled Colorado to face conference opponent CSU-Pueblo, but were defeated by a score of 22-1.

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.