Daily Progress, Jacksonville, TX

September 17, 2012

Jaguar tennis: First match, first win

JC men spank Southwestern (Okla.) Christian 8-1

Jay Neal
Jacksonville Daily Progress

JACKSONVILLE — Hollywood could not have written a better story for the Jacksonville College men's tennis team.

Nearly 17 hours after leaving Jacksonville by van for Oklahoma City on Thursday to play in the first men's tennis match in school history, head coach Kenneth Michaud's Jaguar netters had earned a victory — an 8-1 decision over Southwestern (Okla.) Christian University, a four-year school that is a member of the NAIA.

Thunderstorms in and around Oklahoma City prevented the match from taking place outdoors at the Oklahoma City Tennis Center, as was originally planned.

A three-court indoor venue at a local tennis club was found as an alternate location, but there was a catch.

Club members had court priority and the college matches had to be halted if club members wanted to use the courts.

The men's matches got under way around 6 p.m. and concluded around 11:30 p.m., making it a long day at the office for the Jags, but one that, nevertheless, ended well for the team.

Jonathan Taylor, a sophomore from Nassau, Bahamas led the JC effort, by picking up a 6-0, 6-0 decision in No. 1 singles.

Gil Lim won 6-1, 7-6 in No. 3 singles while Austin Perez polished off his opponent (6-1, 6-1) tin No. 4 singles to highlight things for JC (1-0).

The Jags swept the doubles matches as Taylor and Daniel Apacible won 8-4 in No. 1 doubles.

Lim and Gabe Knight teamed up to squeeze out a 9-7 verdict in No. 2 doubles.

Michaud said that he was proud of his men for enduring the obstacles that the day presented and for garnering the historic win.

“Our guys showed courage by going on the road and beating a four-year school in the first match in the history of Jacksonville College,” he said. “This one is special, there's no doubt about it.”

Michaud said the win should give his Jags a boost, but that there is still much work to be done.

“The main thing is our guys are believing that they can compete and can be successful,” Michaud said. “But I have cautioned them that this is just one match and that we still have areas that we have to improve in, particularly in our doubles play.”

Seminole (Okla.) State College 6, Lady Jaguars 0

Nationally ranked Seminole (Okla.) State College proved to be too much for the Lady Jaguars to handle, with Seminole coming away with a 6-0 win.

The JC ladies (0-1) gave the Belles a run for their money in doubles play, where Kailla Parker & Ashley Hermis (No. 2 doubles) and Anderia Callahan & Caitlin Renson (No. 3 doubles), both lost by identical 8-4 scores.

Seminole's No. 1 doubles squad downed JC's Kerri Kirkpatrick & Kaylee Huelett by an 8-3 margin.

“There is no disgrace in losing to a top-10 team,” Michaud said. “Our ladies have seen what it will take for us to get the level of a Seminole State and they have seen first hand now the work that will be needed to get there.

“This was a good learning experience for our women.”

NOTES: Weather continued to play havoc with the Oklahoma City Collegiate Open on Friday, which was forced to move indoors on a limited number of courts...Only doubles matches were scheduled for Friday, with the hope being that flighted singles matches could take place today outdoors at the OKC Tennis Center...Many of the top junior colleges in America were scheduled to take part in the tournament, including teams from nearby Tyler Junior College...Kirkpatrick injured her shoulder Thursday as a result of a fall and her status for the rest of the weekend was in question...She had been elevated into the No. 1 singles slot on the women's side due to the absence of Britney Sibley, who is recovering from an illness...After a well deserved midnight breakfast at IHOP, the teams finally arrived at their hotel shortly after 1 a.m. Friday morning.