Getting off on the right foot this coming weekend in Oklahoma could make or break the Bods tennis team, literally. After missing nationals by one match last year, every match this year becomes even more important, knowing one misstep could make the difference between sitting at home or postseason action.
“I think both teams are pretty good. The whole team has been playing well since we started practicing. I think we ought to get off to a good start,” said sophomore Nathan Martin.
Martin was named the Bods’ Most Valuable Player in 2005 where the Bods finished the year 10-9, before finding out they had missed out on nationals by one match.
“I think our coach has made a few changes, so that shouldn’t happen again this year. We should have a good year and that’s our goal – to make it to nationals,” said Martin.
This weekend the Bods travel to Edmond, Okla. to take on Central Oklahoma University and East Central Oklahoma University.
“It’s important because it’s our first opportunity of the year. Everything is now falling into place. After last season, it was tough, but it really motivated us. This first meet is the kickoff, it sets the whole standard for the season. They’re both good teams, so this will be a tough first match,” said Blake Edwards, senior team captain.
The Central Oklahoma Broncos is a team full of experience with only one freshman on their roster. One outstanding Bronco, sophomore Tomas Hladil, placed third in the ITA Division II national tournament.
“This is one of the deeper teams in my recent memory. There is no doubt that this team can compete with the best and I’m expecting some great things this season,” said Francis Baxter, Central Oklahoma head coach.
The East Central Oklahoma Tigers also look to be tough as they come off the 04-05 season, finishing 14-12. The Bods scrimmaged Baker on Friday, to get in the flow for this weekend’s matches.
“We get to practice doubles a lot, and we’re confident in that part of our game. But we also have single matches, and those are just as important. It’s just like a dress rehearsal, so we’ll be prepared for this weekend,” said Edwards.
This weekend’s matches are the first action the Bods have seen since coming off a successful fall season.
“It went great. You can’t gage too much off the fall season. We beat some teams that really play differently in the fall than some of the teams will play now,” said Martin.
The Bods made an impressive showing at the Wichita State Invitational and capped the fall season off with an all Washburn doubles final in the Wilson ITA Men’s North Central Regional.
“The ITA set a great tone for doubles. Doubles is pretty much the most important part of the meet. We’re very confident in doubles. If we get a good lead in the first part of the match with doubles we can pretty much cruise,” said Edwards.
The Lady Blues are also in action this weekend against Central and East Central Oklahoma University.