Tabor tennis team battles nation’s best

A spring-break trip to Oklahoma and Arkansas last week may be just what the Bluejays needed to get back into the swing of things in the KCAC, according to Tabor tennis coach Lonnie Isaac.

“This was a great trip for us to help prepare us for the remainder of the conference season,” Isaac said. “All three of the teams we played were stronger than any team we have in our conference right now.

“I felt our quality of play improved with each match, and our players responded real well to the competition level we were playing.”

The Bluejays were shut out of their first outing, falling to Oklahoma Christian in all nine matches.

In their second meet versus Southern Nazarene of Oklahoma, the Bluejays managed four wins to Southern Nazarene’s eight.

The No. 3 doubles duo of Jared Hefley and Jon Adrian defeated Southern’s Andy Sajbert and Chase Rankin, 9-7.

Michael Hagen picked up a win against David Hatroff, 6-4, 6-2, in No. 3 singles.

In No. 4 singles, Neil Rabi defeated Andy Sajbert, 6-4, 6-2, and in No. 7 singles Kenton Schroeder defeated Jaron Graham, 6-1, 6-3.

“Southern Nazarene is a program that has been highly ranked in the past and has been ranked this year,” Isaac said. “Taking three matches off them and having a chance to win that dual was a shot in the arm for this team.”

Tabor turned in a strong performance in their final dual of the trip, falling to John Brown, 5-4 in singles and 2-1 in doubles.

“Against John Brown every match except one was very close,” Isaac said. “We dropped two three-setters at one and two singles and lost No. 2 doubles match that we actually served for, that would have made the difference in the team score.”

Michael Hagen picked up a win over Arturo Saravia, 2-6, 6-2, 6-0. Neil Rabi defeated Brian Murphy 7-5, 2-6, 6-3 to win No. 4 singles. Jared Hefley beat Trent Pepper, 6-1, 6-0. Kenton Schroeder picked up a win by forfeit at the No. 7 spot.

Jon Adrian and Rabi defeated Murphy and Pepper in the No. 3 doubles, 8-3.

“All in all it was a good trip,” Isaac said. “We continue to get good results from Michael and Neil in the middle of our lineup. They have really been solid for us at No. 3 and 4 singles.

“The one thing we will have to have as we go into the final half of the conference season will be to get better results at No. 5 and 6 singles and No. 3 doubles.”

The Bluejays were scheduled to face Southwestern College on Tuesday.

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