By Brandon Tripp, Sports Writer
Being a nationally ranked team means everyone wants to beat you; the Wildcats found that out the hard way over the weekend after dropping two matches to Lamar University and Louisiana-Lafayette University.
“We were in a tough match, and that’s really what it is all about,” head coach Hutton Jones said.
The Wildcats went into the match against Lamar University, having won nine of their last 10 matches. The men won the doubles point against their Division I opponents, taking two of the three matches. The No. 1 doubles pairing of Luke Hawk and Ryan Hudson defeated the Cardinals Maciej Bogusz and Marton Horvath 8-6, and the No. 2 doubles pairing of Hutton Jones Jr. and Bryan Joiner overpowered Richard Fikuka and Dusan Savkovic, scoring another 8-6 win for the Wildcats.
After winning the doubles point, ACU managed just two wins in singles play, losing the top four matches. Joiner scored a win at the No. 5 slot over Lamar’s Diego Snyder in straight sets 6-3, 6-4. The Wildcats’ only other victory of the day came at the No. 6 spot, where José Farias defeated Savkovic also in straight sets 6-3, 7-6.
“It’s not always about the wins and losses, but I just want to see our guys compete against high competition,” Jones said.
The Wildcats looked to rebound Monday when they faced another Division I opponent Louisiana-Lafayette University. But the Wildcats fell behind 1-0 and lost five of six singles matches to lose their second-straight match 6-1.
The Ragin’ Cajuns took the doubles point after winning the No. 2 and No. 3 doubles matches. The Wildcats did win at the No. 1 doubles spot as Ryan Hudson and Bryan Joiner proved to be too much for Piotr Banas and Piotr Olechowski. Hudson and Joiner jumped out to a 6-1 lead and put away the Ragin’ Cajuns’ duo, taking the match 8-2, but Louisiana-Lafayette won the next two doubles matches to get the point.
The two losses over the weekend drops the Wildcats to 18-4 on the season and marks the first time the men have lost two in a row since March 18, 2007, when the Wildcats dropped four in a row.
The men played the weekend without No. 1 singles player Juan Nuñez, who was out nursing an injury he sustained in December.
ACU also had a match against Southern University that was canceled by the Jaguars.
The men will look to get back on track this weekend with two matches against St. Mary’s University and Metro State University in the Abilene Christian Invitational and a scrimmage against New Mexico Military Institute.
The women also are back in action this weekend, competing in the women’s side of the ACU Invitational. They will be taking on St. Mary’s University and Metro State University and will have a match against the conference’s third-ranked team in Tarleton State.
The Texans also are the nation’s 13th-ranked team and come into the match at 6-1 on the season and 3-1 in the conference with their lone loss coming at the hands of the conference’s top-ranked team in Northeastern State.
“We just have to continue to improve,” Jones said. “We aren’t playing as many matches now, and I am hoping that the players are feeling a little fresher.”