BEAUMONT – With five of the six singles matches going to a third set, Sam Houston battled hard before falling 4-2 to No. 1 seed and regular season co-champion McNeese in the semi-finals of the Southland Conference Tournament Saturday afternoon at the Beaumont Memorial Tennis Center.
The loss brought to a close an outstanding season for the Bearkat women who set a school record with 14 dual match victories and reached the semi-finals of the league’s post-season event for only the fifth time in the program’s 31 years in the Southland. McNeese will face Northwestern State in the championship match Sunday at 2 p.m. The winner advances to the NCAA national tournament. The Demons upset No. 2 seed A&M-Corpus Christi 4-3 in Saturday’s second semi-final.
Sahaja Yamalapalli and Mila Milanovic picked up Sam Houston’s two points. Yamalapalli defeated Sarah Jurakova 7-5 7-6 at number two singles. The victory marked an impressive win for the Bearkat freshman. Jurakova earned first team All-Southland Conference after posting a perfect 11-0 league record at the number two spot. Yamalapalli ended the spring with a 16-4 overall dual match singles mark.
Milanovic, one of four seniors playing the final match of her college career, hung on for a 6-1 4-6 7-5 victory over Phonexay Chitdara in the number six singles. Chitdara fought back from being 1-5 down to tie the third set before Milanovic rallied to win. With a total of 67 singles victories during her four-year career, Milanovic leaves ranked No. 2 in all-time Sam Houston singles victories.
Three Sam Houston players won the opening set but fell in grueling three-setters. Hannah Brett topped Khee Yen Wee 4-6 6-2 6-4 at number three. Marija Mastilovic defeated Carrie Casey 2-6 6-0 6-4 in the fourth position. Charoline Erlandsson won over Lusine Chobanyan 2-6 6-4 6-1 at number five. The sophomore's loss was only her second this season as she completed the year with a 17-2 singles mark.
Fabienne Gettwart won her first set at one singles in a 7-3 tiebreaker over Giovanna Floretti. The Cowgirls’ top seeded player fought back to win the second set 6-4. The match was stopped after only three games in the third set as McNeese clinched the dual match and a spot in the finals with a win at number three singles.
Sam Houston’s finished with an 8-3 record in Southland Conference play, tying for third place in the final regular season standings. The conference finish marked only the third time for the Kats to rank among the league’s top three finishers.
McNEESE STATE 4, SAM HOUSTON 2
April 28, 2018 at Beaumont Municipal Tennis Center.
Hannah Brett / Sarah Jurakova (McNeese) vs. Carrie Casey / Mila Milanovic (SHSU) 6-2
Giovanna Floretti / Marija Mastilovic (McNeese) vs. Fabienne Gettwart / Khee Yen Wee (SHSU) unfinished 4-3
Phonexay Chitdara / Charoline Erlandsson (McNeese) defeated Roos Gerritsen / Sahaja Yamalapalli (SHSU) 6-2
Giovanna Floretti (McNeese) vs. Fabienne Gettwart (SHSU) unfinished 6-7 (3) 6-4 2-1
SahajaYamalapalli (SHSU) def. Sarah Jurakova (McNeese) 7-5 7-6 (2)
Hannah Brett (McNeese) def. Khee Yen Wee (SHSU) 4-6 6-2 6-4
Marija Mastilovic (McNeese) def. Carrie Casey (SHSU) 2-6 6-0 6-4
Charoline Erlandsson (McNeese) def. Lusine Chobanyan (SHSU) 2-6 6-4 6-1
Mila Milanovic (SHSU) def. Phonexay Chitdara (McNeese) 6-1 4-6 7-5