The Central Arkansas tennis team continued their dominance at home when it defeated the red-hot Abilene Christian Wildcats 5-2 at the UCA Tennis Courts on Sunday.
The Bears (16-7, 8-2 SLC) handed the Wildcats their first conference loss of the season and snapped their five-game winning streak.
Central Arkansas finished the year 7-0 at home while Abilene Christian's road record slipped to 2-7.
UCA 5, ACU 2
The Bears entered singles play with a 1-0 advantage and put on a show for a packed home crowd.
Senior Marli Van Heerden showed the crowd why she has the most wins in program history when she won 6-3, 6-0 to give her team the early 2-0 lead.
She improved to a team-high 16-6 on the year and 7-3 in SLC play.
Freshman Chunxi Xin picked up win No. 10 on the year when she won 6-3, 6-0 to improve to 8-3 at the No. 1 spot.
Up 3-0, the Wildcats responded with a 6-1, 6-4 win at the No. 4 spot to keep their hopes alive.
Freshman Fuka Nonoyama gifted the seniors on their big day when she took the No. 2 court 6-2, 7-5 to clinch the match for the Bears.
She improved to 14-6 on the year and 7-2 in SLC play.
After Abilene Christian took the No. 5 court to make it 4-2, senior Rada Manataweewat closed the day with a dramatic 7-5, 7-6 win.
She improved to 14-5 and picked up win No. 5 in SLC play.
Xin and Van Heerden fought off the cold temperatures during doubles play and took the match 6-4 to start the day.
Nonoyama and sophomore Yada Vasupongchai teamed up for just their second match of the year and won 7-5 to secure the doubles point.
The last time the Wildcats failed to secure the doubles point in SLC play was March 1.
Coach Casey Wharton was pleased with his team's effort on Senior Day.
"I'm just enjoying the moment," Wharton said. "Four years have come and went with some really good players. The freshman stepped up big today. I was really excited that everyone stood up an did their part to give us a chance to win."
The Bears defeated the Wildcats for the third consecutive year and Wharton credited his team's success against them due to similar gameplay.
"They play a style that is very similar to ours and coach in a similar style," Wharton said. "They play all courts and are aggressive in doubles, similar to the way we play. They're nice too, I haven't met anyone on the team that I haven't liked.
“When you put those two factors together, it makes us easier to relax and play our best. We've been fortunate because they're a good team and we've gotten very comfortable when we play them."
The Bears will wrap up the regular season against the Corpus Christi Islanders at 11 a.m. April 19 in Tyler, Texas.
With a win over the Islanders, the Bears will be in position to be crowned SLC Conference Champions.
The Bears will arrive in Texas with an impressive 8-2 SLC record while the Islanders will boast a strong 6-4 record.
The University of Central Arkansas men's and women's track and field teams dominated the rain-shortened UCA Open on Friday and Saturday at the Bill Stephens Complex.
UCA's women finished with 152 points and eight gold medals while the men had 134 points and six golds.
UCA freshman Gracie Hyde picked up two wins, taking gold in the 5,000 meters on Friday night in a time of 17:47 and grabbing another first in the 1,500 meters on Saturday (4:45.53).
Hannah Noble won the high jump (5-01.75) and Aysha Anderson won the 100 hurdles (14.69).
Teshuna Sheppard finished first in the triple jump (33-08.5).
Tyler Rose won the 400 meters (58.21) and Ajah Criner took gold in the 100 meters (11.91).
Casey Gore won the 10,000 meters (39:33.63), leading a 1-2-3-4 finish by UCA (Kennedy Timmerman, Sarah Meek, Rachel Barnhardt).
On the men's side, Timon Dresselhaus won the long jump (21-06.75), Grant Southerland won the javelin (143-05) and Logan Hall took gold in the high jump (5-08.75).
Hunter Henderson took first in the 1,500 meters (4:04.83), while Thomas Cain grabbed gold in the 5,000 meters (15:32.49).
Ryan Yarde won the 800 meters (2:06.41), leading a 2-3-4-5 finish by UCA (Walter Reed, Shamal Sullivan, Sam Janski, Bradley Lambeth).