The ACU women’s tennis team swept both matches of its doubleheader on Saturday, defeating Nicholls State University and McNeese State University at the Eager Tennis Pavilion on campus.
The Wildcats improved to 5-2 in conference play, and hold a 13-4 record overall. The team currently sits fifth in the Southland standings with two weeks remaining in the regular season.
The opening match against Nicholls was decided by a 5-2 score.
ACU continued its dominance in the doubles matches, with the No. 1 pairing of senior Micah Hermsdorf and her sophomore sister, Kaysie Hermsdorf, defeating their opponent handily, 8-1. The Wildcats’ No. 3 pairing, consisting of senior Emily Conrad and sophomore Nada Marjanovic, clinched the opening point with an 8-4 victory.
Already up 1-0, the Wildcats took four of six singles matches against the Colonels, including Micah Hermsdorf’s three-set victory (6-7, 6-3, 10-5) over Stephanie Barnett. Freshman Erin Walker, Kaysie Hermsdorf and Marjanovic were also victorious. Walker and Marjanovic won in straight sets, while the younger Hermsdorf required a third set.
Having lost its previous two matches and then enjoying a bye-week, the Wildcats had not recorded a victory in nearly three weeks. Getting back into the win column was crucial.
“I think the two losses [two weeks ago] didn’t affect us because they were such close matches and it could have gone either way,” Erin Walker said. “We knew that if we continued to come out and fight our hardest the wins would come naturally, and it ended up that this time around we got the wins.”
Walker continued her strong play in the afternoon match against the Cowgirls, teaming up with junior Brittney Reed to clinch the doubles point yet again for the Wildcats with an 8-2 win. The Hermsdorf sisters were also victorious in their second doubles match, winning 8-3, and improving their overall doubles record to an astounding 15-1 this season.
“The key to both matches was winning the doubles point. It’s very tough for a team to win four out of six singles matches when the teams are evenly matched,” said John Walker, assistant coach and father of Erin Walker.
That doubles point against the Cowgirls would prove crucial as the two teams battled through the six singles matches, each winning three contests. The 4-3 loss dropped McNeese to 6-2 in conference play, and 11-6 overall, good enough for third in the Southland Conference.
Kaysie Hermsdorf, Walker and Marjanovic each picked up their second singles victory of the day. Marjanovic was the last Wildcat on the court, fighting off her opponent at the No. 5 position to win a close match in straight sets (7-5, 7-5). Walker’s match was over quickest as she steamrolled her No. 3 opponent (6-1, 6-0).
Walker’s freshman season at ACU has been impressive. She is 10-7 in singles matches and 11-5 in doubles, partnering with Reed every time.
“My first year of college tennis has been awesome,” Erin Walker said. “Throughout the year I have learned so many important things relating to life and tennis, but mainly [I’ve learned] to enjoy the opportunity and gift of competing and playing a sport in college.”
Walker, along with her teammates, will look to continue their winning streak this weekend as they travel to Sam Houston State University on Saturday and Lamar University on Sunday.