STILLWATER, Oklahoma – The Central Arkansas tennis team kicked off its 2020 season with a doubleheader on Sunday afternoon as the Bears (1-1) defeated the Oral Roberts Golden Eagles 5-2 and later fell to the No. 11 Oklahoma State Cowgirls 4-0 at the Greenwood Tennis Center.
UCA 5, ORU 2
SINGLES - Central Arkansas started singles play with a 1-0 advantage and played well in their first scratch of the year as they completed two sweeps and two three-set wins.
Sophomore Mei Ishimura made sure to quickly start the year 1-0 as she handled her opponent 6-1, 6-4, while fellow sophomore Fuka Nonoyama grabbed a huge 7-6 first set win and took the next one 6-1 to complete her sweep.
Reigning SLC Freshman of the Year Chunxi Xin battled freshman stud Oleksandra Nahurska at the No. 1 and walked away with a gritty 7-5, 2-6, 6-1 win.
Freshman Maja Gledic faced a stiff test in her first career spring match as she shared the court with senior North Texas transfer Ivana Babic at the No. 3 spot.
After splitting the first two 6-4, 2-6, Gledic was able to secure her first win of 2020 as she snuck past Babic 6-4 in the final set.
DOUBLES -- Junior Yada Vasupongchai joined young Gledic at the No. 3 court and the pair quickly formed some chemistry as they handled the opposing team 6-2.
After a Bears loss at the No. 2 made it 1-1, Xin and Nonoyama outlasted the strong pairing of Nahurska and Babic 7-6 in a doubles duel at the No. 1 court to secure the early 1-0 lead.
UCA 0, OSU 4
SINGLES – The Cowgirls carried a 1-0 lead into singles play and dominated courts 4-6 as they completed three sweeps to earn the 4-0 win.
Xin was playing No. 16 junior Lisa Marie Rioux well at the No. 1 court as the first set was unfinished at 6-6.
After falling 6-0 in the first set, both Nonoyama and Gledic found themselves trailing by two points in the second set before being called off.
DOUBLES – Oklahoma State quickly grabbed a 1-0 doubles advantage after winning 6-1 at the No. 2 court and solidified the doubles point with a 6-4 win over the sophomore-freshman pairing of Ishimura and Paulina Engback.
Xin and Nonoyama found themselves in their second straight battle at the No. 1 as they trailed 4-3 to Rioux and No. 92 freshman Ayumi Miyamoto before the other two matches concluded.
"I like competition,” UCA coach Casey Wharton said. “Even when it's the first week of school and we haven't had many team practices, I still want to compete because it creates an opportunity for us to feel things and then deal with those feelings. I thought we didn't play our best but got better as the day went on.
“We played ORU first and didn't play very well in doubles, but Xin and Fuka clinched it to give us the doubles point. Singles was a slow start, but we managed to close it out and grab a good win. We had a short rest because of how long our first match lasted, so we went into the OK State match a little more tired than I would have liked.
“We played very well in doubles and were making good decisions that led to a lot of chances. We didn't win, but it felt like we were in a position to succeed. I'm really proud of their effort and attitude today. We're excited to see what this season is going to hold."