Bulletin Staff Report

The Howard Payne Yellow Jackets and Lady Jackets opened their 2007 fall tennis schedule with wins of 5-4 over Southwestern here Saturday.

Earning victories in mens’ doubles action Saturday were the teams of Chris Sutton and Jordan Gilbreath (8-3 over D’Artagan Bebel and Michael Party) and Nate Alger and Steven Williams (8-3 over Charles Prince and Casey Gunn).

In singles action, Sutton knocked off Dan Otto (6-3, 6-1), Ross Sidman rallied past Party (5-7, 6-3, 10-4) and Tam Li swept Gunn (6-4, 6-2).

“I was pleased with the play of our men,” said HPU head tennis coach Sally Brown. “We’re still young with only one senior, two juniors and three sophomores. We added three new freshmen who will help add some depth to our men’s team as well. They are working hard and really seem to click well together. I am real proud of the way they represented HPU today.”

The Lady Jackets collected four singles wins to spark their victory.

Kayla Smith picked up a 6-2, 6-2 win over Lali Satyavada, while Keeley Brown fought from behind for a 3-6, 6-3, 10-1 win over Charlotte Huskey.

Schuele Batenhorst added a 6-0, 6-2 win over Sara Fitzsimmons, while Laci Fitzgearld toppled Alexandra Nicol, 6-0, 5-2.

The doubles win for the Lady Jackets came from the team of Brown and Fitzgearld, who defeated Brittany Fondren and Katy Cam, 8-2.

“The women’s team is very young and returns only one starter this season,” Brown said. “I was exceptionally pleased with the way these girls battled today. We’ve had some adverse conditions this season, losing some players and battling some injuries, so we had our backs to the wall starting with three defaults.

“We were able to pull out a 5-4 win in spite of that and for this young team to battle like that shows me how tough they are.”

Howard Payne will head to Abilene next week for the American Southwest Conference Individuals, followed by three more road matches.