By Brian Roe, Sports Writer
The ACU men’s tennis team began its annual journey through Oklahoma Tuesday, playing in Ada, Durant and Stillwater.
Tuesday, the Wildcats played the Oklahoma State Cowboys, ranked in the top-35 in Division I men’s tennis. ACU fell to OSU 8-1, but head coach Hutton Jones said playing tougher teams will make the team stronger.
“I could make the schedule out to where our team could go undefeated during the regular season,” Jones said. “But what good would that do.”
OSU may have humbled the Wildcats in its lopsided victory, but the day was highlighted by a tremendous upset from senior Trent Broach. Broach played against one of the top OSU players and beat him decisively in straight sets, 6-1, 6-4.
“It was a huge upset,” Broach said. “This guy was ranked No. 1 in the nation last year and is just an awesome player. It was a great win.”
Broach and other men’s players weren’t expected to even win a match against the Cowboys. However, Broach said those loose expectations contributed towards the upset.
“In all honestly, I was prepared,” he said, “but I was very laid back for most of the match. I didn’t put a whole lot of pressure on myself, and I played really well. I mean, I wasn’t supposed to beat this guy anyway, so why put added pressure on myself. I guess I played better because of it.”
On Wednesday, the team played two matches against East Central Oklahoma at 9 a.m. in Ada, Okla., and then moved on to play Southeastern Oklahoma in Durant at 5 p.m. Both opponents were Division II teams.
ACU dispatched its morning opponent, East Central Oklahoma, 9-0. The Wildcats then made the trip to Durant to easily defeat Southeastern Oklahoma 8-1.
“Some of those matches against the really good D-I schools are tough, but even if we lose them it’s still great practice,” Broach said. “They help out a lot when we play other D-II teams. I mean we completely smashed the two teams who are supposed to challenge us.”
The men’s late-season surge is leading them toward playing host to the postseason regional tournament. If the Wildcats win the rest of their matches against other Division II teams, the regional tournament will be played in Abilene.
ACU will next play in it’s own Wildcat Invitational this weekend at the Eager Tennis Pavilion. The tournament will be played on Friday and Saturday. The men will then travel back to Oklahoma Tuesday to play Central Oklahoma and Cameron.