It was a tough Thursday afternoon for the Southern Arkansas men’s and women’s tennis teams against Harding.
The 24th-ranked Muleriders fell 4-0 to the Bisons, while the Lady Muleriders dropped a 4-1 decision to the Lady Bisons. The Muleriders moved to 7-4 with a 1-1 mark in MIAA-GAC play, while the Lady Muleriders dropped at 5-8 overall with a 3-1 showing in GAC play.
In the men’s contest, Southern Arkansas saw three singles matches go unfinished as junior Sander Jans, sophomore Marko Nikoliuk and freshman Ole Valkyser all battled to a deciding set at lines No. 1, 3 and 4 respectively. Nikoliuk and doubles teammate sophomore Yuri Gondouin claimed a win at No. 2 doubles with a 6-3 decision over Dani Ortiz and Arthur Bellan.
The women dropped the doubles point with freshmen Sarah Roy and Kalley Smith leading 4-3 over HU’s Roman Britt and Lindy Carpenter. Sophomore Lena Milosevic was the lone singles winner for SAU in the defeat as she topped Emily Carpenter 6-3, 6-1. Unbeaten freshman Honoka Yoshimura beat Lindy Carpenter 7-5 in set one before the match went unfinished in set two with a 4-4 tie.
The Lady Muleriders return to action on Monday in Russellville for a GAC match against Arkansas Tech. The Muleriders will play on Tuesday at home vs. Ouachita.
In related news, Valkyser was recently named the MIAA-GAC Men’s Tennis South Division Player of the Week. It was his first career weekly honor as a Mulerider after helping SAU top Oklahoma Baptist 7-0 in the MIAA-GAC opener on March 27.
A native of Monchengladbach, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany, Valkyser earned his fifth win at No. 4 for SAU this spring and ran his overall win-loss singles ledger to 8-2 after defeating the Bison’s Christian Siegle 7-5, 6-0. In doubles action, he teamed up fellow freshman Gabriel Breitenmoser and the duo recorded their seventh doubles victory this campaign with a 7-6 (3) edging of OBU’s Christian Siegle and Kyler Melton.
Valkyser became the third Mulerider to earn a weekly honor this season joining junior Jans and Gondouin.