SHAWNEE – Defending Great American Conference champion and reigning NCCAA national champion Oklahoma Baptist is favored to repeat the conference accolades according to the preseason GAC Coaches' Poll released Wednesday.
Ranked 21st in the preseason national Oracle/ITA rankings, OBU got three first-place votes and finished with nine points. Southeastern is second with seven, followed by Harding and Ouachita Baptist with four points each.
Lucas Castelo Branco is ranked No. 43 nationally in singles. Castelo Branco was 19-8 in singles last year. The team also returns Kevin Andrusch (24-3), Matias Le Fort (15-8), Gianluca Galdi (18-3) and Luis Romero (10-5) as 10-match winners in singles.
OBU opens the spring season at 1 p.m., Saturday, Feb. 10, against Washburn in Oklahoma City.
The Lady Bison are the preseason favorite to win the Great American Conference's women's tennis title after a runner-up finish last season, according to the GAC Coaches' Poll Wednesday.
The 2017 NCCAA National Champions took the poll by the narrowest of margins – one point – over defending GAC champion Southeastern Oklahoma State.
OBU received four of seven first place votes and 34 points. Southeastern got the remainder of the first-place ballots and had 33 points. Arkansas Tech is third at 23, followed by Harding at 20, Southern Nazarene at 16, Henderson State at 15 and Ouachita Baptist at six.
The Lady Bison doubles tandem of Kim Moosbacher and Kateryna Shkot is ranked fourth nationally. Moosbacher was 24-1 in singles last season. Shkot sat out last season but was 23-0 in 2016. The team also returns Madeleine Boepple (21-5) and Alex Bowers (22-5).
The spring season opens for the OBU women Feb. 10 at 1 p.m. against Washburn in Oklahoma City.