The ACU men’s tennis team comes off a mixed weekend into the last home stand of the season.
On Saturday, they took on Division I team Oklahoma State University, a Big 12 school, falling with a score of 5-2. OSU edged the Wildcats out in doubles play to assume a 1-0 lead, and won four consecutive singles matches to secure the win. Sophomore Hans Hach and junior Bryan Joiner pulled out the only points for ACU on Saturday.
“We have to assume whatever role we have, whether that’s underdog or favorite,” said Head Coach Hutton Jones. “When we’re the underdog, we have nothing to lose; all the pressure’s on them. We’re not better than them, but we definitely had chances to pull an upset if a couple things went our way.”
In doubles play, the Wildcats split the first two matchups, leaving the No. 1 teams from both schools to determine who would win one point entering singles play. ACU’s team of Hach and Joiner kept the match close against Aleksey Bessonov and Rifat Bityakov, the 18th-ranked doubles team in the nation in Division I. The score reached 6-6 until the OSU team finally pulled out the victory of 9-8(6), giving the Cowboys the one-point lead.
On Sunday, the men faced two Lone Star Conference opponents, defeatingÂ both East Central University and Southeastern Oklahoma State by a score of 9-0 in each match.
“We took care of business,” Jones said. “This is a job, and we need to take care of our matches in a business-like manner in order to be ready for the post-season.”
Sweeping all 18 points against both schools collectively on Sunday was a good end to the weekend that began with a tough competition against a school that, according to Jones, is “usually ranked in the top 25 in Division I.” The strong showing against conference rivals should set up the ‘Cats well for Wednesday, when ACU hosts Cameron University at 3 p.m.
“That’s a big match,” said Hach. “If we win, we will host regionals; we need people to come out.”
The match against Cameron will be at ACU’s Eager Tennis Center. Free hot dogs and Dr Pepper will be available for ACU students.
“We have to come to work,” Jones said. “If we want something handed to us, there’s a good chance we won’t get it. We have to go take it.”