The men’s and women’s tennis teams return continue their spring competitive season this weekend, as the men travel to Colorado for the three-day Air Force Invitational and the women host a doubleheader in Abilene against TCU and the University of Texas at El Paso.
The Wildcats began their spring slate this past weekend as the men competed against the University of Texas, Southern Methodist University and the University of Oklahoma while the women’s team competed in a tournament hosted by Indiana University. Currently sitting at a 0-3 record, the team’s focus is on facing adversity and battling well on the court.
“Tennis is different because you’re playing individual contests and fighting for every point, every set, every match, and this past week we won a match against a team that’s ranked fourth in the country,” said Head Coach Hutton Jones, referring to sophomore Josh Sheehy and senior Nico Agritelley’s victory over No. 4 Texas’ No. 1 doubles team in the spring opener.
In singles, Sheehy fell to nationally ranked Christian Sigsgaard of UT in a close match where he won the first set, went to match point in the second, but lost in a tie break.
As a developing Div. 1 program, Jones recognizes the record doesn’t accurately represent the strides of improvement the team has seen. And it continues to pave the way for growth and success by building a schedule that challenges the team and pushes their level of mental and physical toughness while putting pressure on their opponents.
“If you’re playing a top-16 football team in the nation, and you lose by a touchdown, you lose, but it’s still substantial in showing your capabilities. So losing a set 7-6, you can’t get any closer against the nation’s sixth ranked player, that is saying something positive about the direction we’re headed,” Jones said.
The men travel back to the Air Force Invitational this weekend where they earned a perfect 4-0 victory last spring. Going in with the intention of repeating history, the team expects tough competition but maintains preparation and confidence gathered from experience playing against national powerhouses.
“It’s a great feeling to know that ACU is able to compete with some of the best ranked teams in the nation,” Sheehy said. “I hope that soon we will be able to take our place with them up there.”
The program continues to compete against challenging opponents such as the match up between the Wildcats and the No. 7 Horned Frogs this weekend at home. Junior Whitney Williams said that because the team has never faced TCU in a dual match, they know little of what to expect other than tough competition and a long day of tennis.
“I think we might surprise ourselves and everyone else,” Williams said. “There is something about spring season that makes us a little more hyped up and more competitive.”
The match up last year against UTEP was tight and came down to every individual point, and Jones expects this year to be no different.
“We’re not in the top 75, so we know we’re gonna come out and get after it,” Jones said. “With a doubleheader you have to face the adversity and learn to play when your legs are tired and your body is tired.”
The men begin their weekend against Colorado State University at Pueblo Friday, and the women face TCU and UTEP Saturday.