The Harding men’s tennis team defeated Oklahoma Baptist University (OBU) 6-3 on Saturday, April 9. The Bisons’ overall record is now 10-5, and 1-1 in the Great American Conference.
Harding won two of three doubles matches on Saturday, resulting in victories for sophomore Carlos Crisostomo and freshman Henrique Vieira, as well as junior Brandon Hogland and freshman Chase Stumne.
“Doubles are for sure our strength as a team,” Stumne said. “We feel really confident taking at least two of the three in a given match.”
In singles, Harding won four out of the six total matches. Sophomore Adrian Torrico, junior Neto Cacace, Hogland and Stumne each defeated the players of OBU. Both Hogland and Stumne said that the team played well as a whole this weekend, but they think that the team could improve on singles play across the board. Stumne also said that it might have been the best he has ever seen Cacace play singles.
“Both my strength and my team’s strengths this past weekend was the will to win,” Hogland said. “We supported each other even if the circumstances looked grim.”
Head coach David Redding also said that the team plays well in doubles at all three lines but could improve in their return of serves and their net game.
“Each doubles team has a lot of faith in each other, and there is no quit in any of the players when they are down in a match or no complacency when they are up,” Redding said. “Overall, our doubles play has either kept us in the tough matches or has put us in a commanding position going into singles play against equal or lesser components.”
Redding said that coming into the season his main goal as a coach was to assimilate well with his players, create a sense of family and earn their trust. He said he is pleased with how they function as a team and the direction they are headed.
“We are coming down to the end of the season and our goal of winning the conference championship is still on the table,” Redding said. “While we are not the favorite, I have no doubt that we will fight and claw for every point and compete in such a way that honors God in the attempt to reach that goal.”
Redding said the players have worked very hard all season, bonding together as a team and showing a tremendous knack for staying in matches when they could have given up.
“It’s been a pleasure to coach these players this year, and I look forward to their continued success next season, as well,” Redding said.
The Bisons do not have any seniors graduating this year, so they will be able to continue to work together as the same team during the next season. The team played against Ouachita Baptist University on Thursday, April 14, but results were not available at press time.