THIBODAUX, La. – The Bearkats wrapped up regular season play with a 6-1 victory over Nicholls Saturday to set a new Sam Houston women’s tennis record with 13 victories in 2018.
The win also nailed down a top four seed at the Southland Conference tournament next Friday through Sunday (April 27-29) in Beaumont. Five times before in the more than 40-plus year history of the program, Sam Houston women’s tennis ended the season with 12 victories. With tournament play ahead, the 2018 Kats stand 13-5 for a .722 winning percentage (a mark that stands as the best in tennis’s 32 years at the NCAA Division I level.)
Sam Houston’s 8-3 Southland record in 2018 is the program’s second-best league won-loss total in 31 seasons in the conference. It ranks behind only the 2007 squad that went 9-2. The team’s seeding in Beaumont next weekend is the program’s third top-four seed in 12 Southland post-season appearances.
McNeese (10-1) and Texas A&M-Corpus Christi (10-1) are the league’s regular season co-champions. The Cowgirls will be the number one seed in the tournament thanks to a 5-2 head-to-head win over the Islanders. Northwestern State (8-3) and Sam Houston (8-3) tied for third. The Demons defeated the Kats 4-3 in Natchitoches, La., to take the three seed. Central Arkansas (7-4) and Abilene Christian (7-4) tied for fifth with UCA holding the tie-breaker.
“These young ladies have achieved so much this season. I couldn’t be prouder of their accomplishments,” Sam Houston head coach Rob Hubbard said. “They are such fighters. Considering that each of our losses to the three teams seeded ahead of us came in 4-3 decisions that turned on just a few points, we know that we can compete with whoever we meet next week in Beaumont. We’re looking forward to a lot of hard work in practice in the week ahead.”
Dominance in doubles started Saturday’s play on a strong note. Carrie Casey and Mila Milanovic defeated Stephanie Burnett and Ling Feng Gu 6-2 in the number one position. Fabienne Gettwart and Khee Yen Wee followed quickly with a 6-4 victory over Marlia Kozachok and Marina Vigil at number two.
Lusine Chobanyan and Wendy French were a point away from picking up a win over Anastasia Kuzevanova and Changel Wei in the number three match but play was stopped with the SHSU pair leading 5-4 40-15.
Chobanyan and Milanovic kept the ball rolling with straight set wins at the five and six positions, respectively. Chobanyan defeated Kuzevanova 6-1 6-2 while Milanovic topped Wei 7-6 6-1. Wee added the match-clinching four victory by knocking off Kozachok 6-1 6-4 at number three.
Gettwart won in three sets 6-2 4-6 6-3 over Bennett in the number one singles. Sahaja Yamalapalli took care of Gu 7-5 6-0 at number two. Casey and Vigil split sets at number four with Casey winning the opening set 6-0 and Vigil bouncing back 7-5 in the second. With the match already clinched, the pair decided the third set with a 10-point tiebreaker won by Vigil 10-6.
Saturday’s individual outcomes could help Sam Houston players with post-season honors hopes. Chobanyan, a sophomore, owns a 16-1 overall record and a 10-1 mark in league action in singles. Yamalapalli, a freshman, has posted a 14-4 dual match record in singles and stands 10-1 in conference play. Gettwart has rolled to a 13-5 season singles total and is now 9-2 in the league.
SAM HOUSTON 6, NICHOLLS 1
April 21, 2018 at Thibodaux, La.
- 1. Carrie Casey / Mila Milanovic (SHSU) def. Stephanie Burnett / Ling Feng Gu (Nicholls) 6-2
- 2. Fabienne Gettwart / Khee Yen Wee (SHSU) def. Marlia Kozachok / Marina Vigil (Nicholls) 6-4
- 3. Lusine Chobanyan / Wendy French (SHSU) vs. Anastasia Kuzevanova/ Changel Wei (Nicholls) Unfinished (SHSU leading 5-4 (40-15)
- 1. Fabiene Gettwart (SHSU) def. Stephanie Bennett (Nicholls) 6-2 4-6 6-3
- 2. Sahaja Yamalapalli (SHSU) def. Ling Feng Gu (Nicholls) 7-5 6-0
- 3. Khee Yen Wee (SHSU) def. Marlia Kozachok (Nicholls) 6-1 6-4
- 4. Marina Vigil (Nicholls) def. Carrie Casey (SHSU) 0-6 7-5 1-0 (6)
- 5. Lusine Chobanyan (SHSU) def. Anastasia Kuzevanova (Nicholls) 6-1 6-2
- 6. Mila Milanovic (SHSU) def. Changel Wei (Nicholls) 7-5 6-1`