UCO Tennis Backhands Competition: Bronchos Ranked Third MIAA Conference
Sophomore Kirtana Bhat waits for the ball to be served during the doubles match at the UCO vs. Southern Nazarene Women’s Tennis match at the UCO Tennis Court on February 10, 2017. (Elizabeth Roberts/The Vista).
The Lady Broncho Tennis team (11-7) are sitting in the third ranked spot at the moment in the Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletic Association with the conference tournament around the corner.
“We’re getting better every game,” first year Head Coach Jaron Maestas said.
The UCO season began with a four match winning streak in league play, gaining confidence in the young team.
During the middle stretch of the long season the Lady Bronchos suffered a minor slump when dropping three consecutive matches.
“We faced some top nationally ranked teams,” Maestas stated. “But we kept getting better as a team.”
Just like any great team they picked themselves up and corrected the issues at hand. Bouncing back just in time for conference play, beating Nebraska-Kearney and Fort Hayes in back-to-back days.
“We need to give ourselves a chance to win,” Maestas stated. “If we can just get the opportunity it would be huge.”
UCO has been led this year by sophomore Alli Hodges, who has put up a 19-5 record including a 4-2 record against regionally ranked opponents.
“She’s been consistent for us all year, she’s put up an All-American season,” Maestas said about the young star.
More important to Coach Maestas is the team as a whole.
“Our team has grown and improved as a whole,” Maestas mentioned. “They’ve bought in.”
The tennis team has seen its fair share of improvements this year, growing and learning more from match to match.
Players like Kirtana Bhat and Alix Williams have also put up some respectable numbers this season. The number two and three spots on the team have been one of the keys to the performance of the team.
Staying in the top three spots in the conference will be key for the Lady Bronchos moving forward. During the course of the MIAA conference tournament, the top three teams will have an easier path to success.
Allowing UCO to make a better case for the national tournament.
With only two more matches before the MIAA conference tournament, Coach Maestas expects the team to finish strong. “I think we will come out better and stronger,” he said. “If we have effort we’ll be fine.”
The Lady Bronchos tennis team will face a back-to-back April eighth and ninth against the number one seed Northwest Missouri State University and then Missouri Western University.