Friday, Feb. 1 • Huntsville, Texas • 2 p.m. • McAdams Tennis Center
Sam Houston State (2-2) vs. UTSA (2-3)
HUNTSVILLE – Former Southland Conference foe UTSA visits as the Sam Houston women’s tennis team plays its first on-campus dual match of the 2019 season at the McAdams Center Friday at 2 p.m.
Sam Houston went 10-0 at the McAdams Center on the way to a 14-6 overall record in 2018. The perfect mark at home was the Kat’s first at the NCAA Division I level. The 14 wins stand as the highest single-year victory total in program history.
Two weeks ago, the Kats’ original home opener was moved indoors at The Woodlands Country Club due to rain. Third-year SHSU head coach Rob Hubbard says the team looks forward to their first match on the outdoor courts.
“The support at our home matches has been special,” Hubbard said. “When we moved to The Woodlands for the original home opener, we appreciated the number of people who followed us down to watch us play. The home fans make a big difference.”
With no seniors on the roster, the Bearkats are a squad that mixes experience (two returning juniors and two sophomore letter-winners) with youth (three freshmen and a transfer in the line-up).
“There have been a lot of bright spots so far but we also have shown our youth at times too,” Hubbard said. “The effort has been there throughout the fall and our early dual matches. These young ladies have an outstanding work ethic and are determined to improve each time they hit the court.”
Sophomore Sahaja Yamalapalli, junior Ema Barkovic, freshman Isidora Zivkovic and sophomore Karla De La Luz Montalvo have played in the number one through four singles positions, respectively, in the opening contests. Junior Lusine Chobanyan has seen action in three matches at number five. Sophomore Roos Gerritsen has two victories at line six while freshman Petra Kaszas has performed in both the five and six slots.
Sam Houston’s doubles teams feature Yamalapalli and De La Luz Montalvo at number one, Gerritsen and Zivkovic on the number two line and Barkovic and Paszas at number three. Freshmen Malou Goes and sophomores Asni Hill and Stevie Ybarra showed promise in fall tournament action and are available for action as well.
The Bearkats bring a 2-2 record into Friday’s match. Sam Houston opened the season with a 6-1 victory at UT-Rio Grande Valley and followed up with a 7-0 win over Prairie View A&M. Sam Houston fell to Houston 5-2 and Rice 6-1 on the road last weekend.
UTSA features an experienced line-up with two seniors, three juniors and three freshmen on the roster. The Roadrunners own victories over Cameron State and Abilene Christian. Their three losses came at the hands of Texas A&M, New Mexico and Lamar. Ki Kroll, the new head coach for UTSA women’s program, directed the tennis teams at Northern Arizona and Southern Mississippi.
SERIES vs UTSA ROADRUNNERS
Friday’s match marks the 32nd meeting for Sam Houston and UTSA in the 37-year history of Bearkat women’s tennis. The Roadrunners have won in 24 of the 31 previous meetings. Sam Houston posted its first victory over UTSA since 2010 last spring with a 6-1 win in San Antonio.
From 1992 to 2012, the two teams competed as members of the Southland Conference. UTSA won the Southland women’s tennis championship in 2003. The Roadrunners moved to Conference USA in 2013.
Friday’s event marks the only home dual match for Sam Houston in February. The Kats now face non-conference road trips to North Texas (Friday, Feb. 8), Texas A&M (Sunday, Feb. 10), Louisiana Tech (Friday, Feb. 22) and Louisiana in Lafayette (Sunday, Feb. 24).
The Bearkats will begin Southland Conference play with a pair of home matches Friday, March 1 versus Nicholls and Sunday, March 3 against New Orleans.