The conference tennis season is underway for both the men’s and women’s teams, but business is about to pick for the squads.
The men are undefeated through two conference matches after wins over Nicholls State and Lamar. The Wildcats are set to battle a full slate this week and weekend, taking on local rivals, McMurry and Hardin-Simmons Wednesday night, before traveling to Louisiana for another non-conference match against Xavier University of Louisiana and their third conference match up of the spring, versus New Orleans.
Meanwhile, the women, who have twice as many Southland Conference opponents on their slate than the men due to the 12-team league compared to the men’s six-team conference, are 2-3 after their third 4-3 loss of the spring. The most recent falter coming at the hands of McNeese State.
The Wildcats lost the doubles point to the Cowgirls, despite senior Whitney Williams and freshman Illeana Mocciola coming away with a 6-3 win.
After losses at the No. 2 and No. 6 positions, ACU faced a 3-0 whole with four matches left. The Wildcats would take three-of-four, including wins from freshman Nini Memishishi, who picked up a three-set victory for her 11th win of the season, and senior Lucile Pothier, who earned a 6-4, 1-6, 6-0 win at the top spot. But Marjia Mastilovic broke the tie for McNeese with a three-set triumph over sophomore Sarah Adams.
Assistant coach John Walker said the tough losses, resemble the nature of the competition in the conference.
“I try to take good out of every situation,” Walker said. “And I try to transfer that to the team. Our conference is so close that teams are going to beat each other and who knows how this is going to end up once all the teams have played each other.”
The women look to bounce back this weekend in their matchups against New Orleans and Southeastern Louisiana.
Walker said the consecutive matchups and the busy schedule prepare the teams for conference.
“Mentally it makes us tougher, playing back to back like that,” Walker said. When we get to the conference tournament we’re prepared to play back to back mentally and physically.”
Although the men have a lighter conference schedule than the women, the team is staying busy with mid-week matchups like McMurry and Hardin Simmons. Walker said these matches play a big role in preparation.
“We’re playing to win those matches as much as any and we’re wanting to have a great result,” Walker said. “But those extra matches that we are playing are perfect opportunities for us to treat them as conference matches, because they just help us with mental toughness and physical toughness.”
The men swept both Hardin-Simmons and McMurry on Wednesday with dominant performances. The Wildcats face Xavier, Friday and their weekend matchup against New Orleans will be the Privateers first conference match of the season.