OKLAHOMA CITY (Dec. 18, 2012) – Coming off an NAIA-championship season, Oklahoma Christian’s men’s tennis team will face a challenging 2013 schedule that will include 11 matches against opponents that finished in the final NCAA Division II top 50 rankings last season.
OC coach Kris Miller announced his team’s 20-match schedule Tuesday. All but three of the Eagles’ matches will be on the road as the university is in the first year of the NCAA Division II membership process. OC won’t be able to defend its NAIA title but could qualify for the National Christian College Athletic Association Championship, held in Mobile, Ala., the same site as the NAIA tournament.
OC has five players back from last season with starting experience in Bruno Tiberti, Martin Poboril, Nicolas Auruccio, Julio Pulido and Paulo Roessle. Jaime Sanchez-Canamares, one of OC’s top players in 2012, plans to redshirt in 2013, but Josip Smoljan, who redshirted last season, showed promise during the fall campaign and looks poised to move into a starting role.
The Eagles will open the season at an event in Abilene, Texas. They’ll face Division III Trinity (Texas) on Feb. 1, then play junior-college power Tyler (Texas) and Abilene Christian on Feb. 2. A week later, the Eagles will be in east Texas for road matches at Tyler JC on Feb. 8 and the University of Texas-Tyler on Feb. 9.
OC’s next four matches will be in Arkansas. The Eagles will play Harding (Ark.) in Conway on Feb. 14, then will play in an event at Ouachita Baptist in Arkadelphia from Feb. 15-17, facing Delta State (Miss.), Ouachita Baptist and Southeastern Oklahoma State on successive days.
The Eagles will play at Midwestern State (Texas) on March 2, then have two weeks off before a weeklong trip to south Florida, where they will visit Northwood (Fla.) on March 16, Barry on March 17,
Palm Beach Atlantic on March 18, St. Thomas (Fla.) on March 19 and Lynn on March 21.
The Eagles’ home opener will be April 4 against Midwestern State at Oak Tree Country Club in Edmond.
After a two-match swing in Austin, Texas, during which the Eagles will play Hawaii Pacific on April 7 and Heartland Conference rival St. Edward’s (Texas) on April 8, OC will close the regular season with two home matches – April 13 vs. Incarnate Word (Texas) and April 16 vs. Cameron.
Of OC’s opponents, Abilene Christian (11th), Delta State (42nd), Ouachita Baptist (12th), Northwood (35th), Barry (4th), Lynn (3rd), Midwestern State (27th), Hawaii Pacific (5th), St. Edward’s (16th), Incarnate Word (19th) and Cameron (20th) all finished in the Intercollegiate Tennis Association’s final Division II top 50 rankings for 2012.
Should OC qualify for the NCCAA Championship, that tournament will be from May 7-10. Among the former NAIA tennis powers who, like OC, are in the Division II membership process and have joined the NCCAA are Fresno Pacific (Calif.) and Azusa Pacific (Calif.). OC edged Fresno Pacific 5-4 in the 2012 NAIA title match.