By Joshua Parrott, Sports Writer
The ACU tennis teams are no strangers to success.
Both teams have earned spots in the national rankings and won their respective Lone Star Conference tournament.
Both have victories over some of the top teams in Division II, Division III and even Division I.
Now both the ACU men’s and women’s tennis teams will serve as hosts to one of two Central region tournaments this Friday and Saturday, with the winner of each tournament advancing to the NCAA Division II tournament May 9-12 in Kansas City, Mo.
Sophomore Trent Broach said he prefers playing tougher schools than playing relatively weaker schools in Division II.
“I’d rather play the top teams in Division I and lose than play other Division II teams and not improve,” Broach said. “The matches against Division I teams prepares us for our other matches.”
The men, No. 25 in the country and 17-9 overall, take on St. Mary’s Friday, with the winner of that match to play the winner of the Incarnate Word-Cameron match for Saturday’s regional championship.
The Wildcats are fresh off of a three-match sweep at the LSC tournament last week, including a victory over highly-regarded Midwestern State in the final.
The Wildcats were at a crossroads earlier in the season following a loss at Texas A&M-College Station. That loss dropped the Wildcats to 6-7 overall, but responded by winning all but two of their matches since the 6-0 pounding they received in College Station.
Senior Walter Seidel said the Wildcats have refined their game over the duration of the season.
“We have definitely gotten stronger throughout the season,” Seidel said. “Everyone has improved and we really have nothing to lose now.”
The women, 21-5 overall and ranked seventh in the nation, have a semifinal match against Cameron Friday, with the winner of that match meeting the winner of Eastern New Mexico-Midwestern State match for the regional championship on Saturday.
The women are also coming off of a successful LSC tournament, where they defeated Northeastern State for the Wildcat’s 16th LSC title since 1985. Three of the five losses suffered by the Wildcats were at the hands of Division I opponents SMU, Rice and Texas A&M-College Station.
Broach said he predicts the Wildcats will win this weekend’s regional tournament.
“It’s really no competition for us at the Division II level,” Broach said. “Well, at least until we get to nationals.”