The Harding men’s and women’s tennis teams are coming out of two fresh wins from this past week, and both teams are looking to establish a streak in matches set for this coming weekend. On March 21, the men’s team defeated No. 10 ranked Emporia State University in Springfield, Missouri.
The match marked the end of a three-match losing streak for the Bisons, and the victory was the Bisons’ first over a regionally-ranked team this season as they brought down the No. 10 Central Region team in a 5-1 victory. In doubles, the No. 7 regionally ranked men’s team won two of their three matches, with junior Carlos Crisostomo and freshman A.J. Barrington attaining their first dual match victory with a 9-7 score.
Barrington and Crisostomo were not the only duo to reach a team benchmark in last Tuesday’s match, as junior Adria Abella and freshman Alejandro Sendra finished at No. 3 in doubles with an 8-4 victory in their second match as a team. In singles, Crisostomo, Barrington and Abella won each of their sets, finishing at Nos. 1, 2 and 3, respectively.
The match marked Sendra’s first finish at No. 1, and sealed Crisostomo and Barrington’s 11th singles victories. According to Barrington, the team’s victory is due to their positive outlook and mutual encouragement.
“(The team is) just continuing to stay positive and upbeat, and especially the cheering on the sides helped to keep us pumped up and in the moment, and just propelled us through the finish,” Barrington said.
Also transitioning out of a loss, the women’s team defeated Southern Nazarene University on March 25 in Bethany, Oklahoma. The 8-1 victory was the team’s first Great American Conference (GAC) match of the season. The Lady Bisons’ No. 3 duo of junior Emily Faulkner and freshman Milou Dalmolen won their third straight doubles match with a score of 8-0, and the No. 1 team of senior Piper Huey and junior Laura Golubic won their sixth straight match with a score of 8-2. According to Huey, the duo is looking forward to continued success for the rest of the season.
“We’re feeling good. We’ve beat a lot of good doubles teams, and so she and I are really excited about what we can do,” Huey said. “We’ve felt really confident in all of our doubles and I think that’s helped a lot.”
No. 5 senior Arielle Butler secured the Lady Bisons’ match victory with a doubles victory of 7-6, 6-0, her 14th singles victory of the season, and the team’s current season record. The victory was the 52nd of her Harding career. No. 2, Golubic and No. 4, junior Brittany Smyser, earned straight-set wins, and Huey upset Polina Chala, the No. 6 player in the Central Region.
This weekend, both the men’s and women’s teams will face off against Central Region rivals. On Sunday, the Lady Bisons will play the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff in Pine Bluff, Arkansas, followed by a home game on Monday at 2 p.m. against GAC rivals, Ouachita Baptist University (OBU). On Saturday, the men’s team will begin conference play at home against OBU at 2 p.m.