The wind was blowing and the temperatures were less than ideal, but on the court it did not matter, as the Barton Community College men's and women's tennis teams began their season against Bethany College at Veterans Memorial Park Thursday.
Barton's men were dominant in their first match, winning 8-1 over the Swedes.
"This was a good early match for us. What I really liked about our effort was that our guys really enforced their game on the opponents," said Barton men's and women's coach Sydney Bwalya. "I know its early but I think we will be a deeper team this year."
The Cougars opened the match by sweeping doubles play. Barton's No. 1 doubles team of Raphael Namias and Artur Latypov made quick work of Bethany's top tandem 8-1. Ataide Suca and Marc Weigelt followed in the footsteps of Namias and Latypov by downing their competition 8-1, in No. 2 doubles. The Cougars swept doubles as Roman Mendoza and Petr Grigorev took care of No. 3 doubles 8-3.
Barton was nearly as unstoppable in singles play, as they won five of the six matches. Namias started the action at No. 1 singles with a 6-0, 6-1 victory. Suca, Latypov and Mendoza followed suit with victories in only two sets.
The Cougars women did not have as solid a start to their 2009 campaign, as they fell to Bethany 6-3.
Barton's No. 1 doubles team of Ghezelene Doballah and Calisa Reid began by winning 8-6. The Cougars would fall on tough times in No. 2 and No. 3 doubles, as the Swedes utilized their strength in doubles play. Bethany won No. 2 doubles 8-8 (7-5) and No. 3 doubles 8-5.
Bethany took a strangle hold on the match after winning the first two singles matches. Barton's Shea Schmidt kept the Cougar hopes alive with a three set victory, 5-7, 6-2, 10-3, in No. 3 singles.
The Swedes would seal the match with a win at No. 4 singles. Bethany would also win No. 5 singles, before Barton's Brittany Osborne picked up a win at No. 6 singles 6-1, 6-0.
"Bethany always has a very good women's program, particularity in doubles, so we knew they would be tough," Bwalya said. "We definitely matched up better in singles through we didn't capitalize on the opportunities."
Barton will return to the courts Saturday to face Newman University. The first serve is set for 10 a.m.