The women’s tennis team sent its seniors out in style last weekend with a pair of convincing victories over the University of Central Arkansas and Oral Roberts University. The two wins pushed ACU’s season record to 17-5, and 9-3 in the Southland Conference.
Last weekend’s matches were the last home matches for seniors Micah Hermsdorf and Emily Conrad, both of whom spent all four years competing for the Wildcats.
Saturday morning began with the Wildcats snapping UCA’s five-game winning streak with a 6-1 win, dropping the Bears to 12-10 on the season, and 5-7 in league play.
As has been the case for the majority of the season, strong doubles play led to a 1-0 advantage heading into the singles matches. Conrad and her partner, sophomore Nada Marjanovic, disposed of their competition in a tight 8-7 (7-1) victory, while junior Brittney Reed teamed up with freshman Erin Walker to win 8-4. The third doubles match featuring Micah Hermsdorf and her sister, sophomore Kaysie Hermsdorf, was halted after ACU clinched the doubles point.
The Wildcats proceeded to win five of six singles matches, including victories by Conrad and Micah Hermsdorf. Conrad came back from a set down to beat Bianca Strukelj, 3-6, 7-6 (7-2), 1-0 (10-5), and Hermsdorf bested Simona Horsikyan at the No. 1 position, 6-1, 7-6 (7-5). Reed, Walker and Marjanovic were also victorious, each with a straight-set victory.
Saturday afternoon the Wildcats played ORU, who entered the match 4-19 on the season, and winless in the Southland.
The Wildcats breezed through doubles play, with the Hermsdorf sisters winning 8-4, Reed and Walker, 8-3 and Conrad and Marjanovic, 8-0.
Reed, Kaysie Hermsdorf and Conrad proceeded to dominate their respective opponents in singles play, each winning in straight sets and losing only one game through the entire match. With ACU up 4-0, the match was halted. The three remaining Wildcat players were up one set to none at the time.
Micah Hermsdorf said her team’s mental toughness was the key to victory in the matches over the weekend.
“Focus is a big factor to winning any match,” Hermsdorf said. “I think our team does a really good job at staying mentally and physically tough and always wanting to out-ready our opponents.”
Hermsdorf is 17-6 and 19-5 in singles and doubles play on the season.
“I could not be happier with our first season as a Div. I team. We showed we are capable of being successful at this level and I only see positive things in the future for ACU tennis,” said Conrad, who is 11-10 in singles and 15-9 in doubles in her first season in Div. I.
The team will travel to Nebraska on Wednesday to play in the National Invitational Tournament, which features other Div. I teams that are ineligible for the post-season. The tournament will be the end of the road in terms of collegiate tennis for Conrad and Hermsdorf.
“My experience with ACU tennis has been nothing short of great,” Conrad said. “To have had this opportunity, I just feel so grateful for all of the wonderful times I had with the team these past four years. I wouldn’t have traded this experience for anything.”
“After four years at ACU, I could never see myself at any other school,” Hermsdorf said. “I wouldn’t trade this team for the world. We spend so much time together that they really are my family. I have gotten to travel to some incredible places. My tennis game has advanced so much since I started as a freshman and I have to thank my coaches for that. It’s an experience of a lifetime.”