By Brian Roe, Sports Writer
The ACU women’s tennis team continued its early season dominance by winning 18 consecutive matches last Tuesday en route to defeating Hardin-Simmons and Howard Payne universities.
The women remain undefeated in 2003 with a 5-0 record and have won 44 of 45 individual matches this spring. The quick start has head tennis coach Hutton Jones excited about his team’s possibilities.
“This is the first team I have ever coached that could crack the top-four in the nation,” Jones said.
The team showcases three all-Americans in seniors Lacy Johnson, Kristen Chumley and Sarah Taweel. Jones said the three seniors are important to what is otherwise a young team.
“We have two freshmen and three sophomores in our lineup this year, so it’s important that they learn from the seniors,” Jones said.
The three seniors make their contributions to the team by spending time with teammates on and off the court. In fact, several players spent Sunday afternoon together, not as teammates, but as friends.
“Our team is so close, it’s amazing,” sophomore Summer Beesley said. “We all hang out together outside of tennis and it’s cool because we get along so well no matter how old or how good [we are]. We just enjoy spending time together.”
Team unity and team success go hand in hand, Jones said. The coach said he is optimistic about his team this season and about the years ahead.
“This team has amazing balance,” Jones said. “We are so equal from top to bottom that we should still be a great team next year. The older players will be missed but the younger players will be ready when the time comes.”
According to senior Lacy Johnson, the younger players are contributing now and will be ready to lead the team when the time comes.
“The younger players are going to be good because they are all hard workers and eager to get in and make it their team,” Johnson said. “They are very important to the success of our team this year and years ahead.”
Next, the team will travel to Lexington Friday to compete in a weekend-long tournament against Wright State, David Lipscomb, Northern Kentucky, Eastern Kentucky, Western Kentucky and Kentucky. The tournament will begin Friday.