HUNTSVILLE – The Sam Houston State women’s tennis team got off to a strong start to its fall campaign two weekends ago at the Rice Fall Invitational, and will look to add on to that start this weekend when it travels to the Big Easy for the Southland Conference Inaugural Fall Classic.

Coach Rob Hubbard’s Bearkats picked up 16 combined wins at the Rice Invitational in Houston, highlighted by freshman Sahaja Yamalapalli taking the crown in Flight 6. This weekend the Kats will be back in action in the three-day event hosted by the University of New Orleans in what will be the final prep for next week’s ITA Texas Regionals in Fort Worth.

"I am excited that we have been able to put together a strong fall schedule to go along with an extremely competitive spring schedule as well,” Hubbard said. “Starting off the fall season with an excellent tournament like the Rice Invitational, going through ITA Regionals, and culminating with us hosting our own fall event, The Bearkat Invitational, we should be able to achieve a strong picture of where we stand in our preparation for the spring dual match season.” 

Following the ITA Texas Regionals, the Kats will return home to close out the fall season on Oct. 28-29 with the Bearkat Fall Invitational. Sam Houston will then have off until late January when it kicks off the spring slate with weekend tilts at home against Prairie View and UTRGV on January 19 and 21.

“I believe our non-conference schedule, with matches against nationally and regionally ranked programs such as Texas A&M, Rice, UTA, Houston, and Louisiana Tech, should prepare us very well for our 'second season' of conference play and our hunt for a bid into the NCAA Championships," Hubbard said.

After its spring openers against the Panthers and Vaqueros, the Kats will travel to Texas A&M, Houston and UTSA for consecutive matches before being back at home for matches against Louisiana Tech (Feb. 9), Texas State (Feb. 11) and New Mexico State (Feb. 17). Sam Houston will close out its spring pre-conference season on Feb. 24 at UT Arlington.

The Kats will kick off Southland Conference play on March 2 at Northwestern State before traveling to Nacogdoches for a March 4 clash with rival Stephen F. Austin. The first home league match will come against Abilene Christian on March 11 with other home matches coming against Central Arkansas (March 24), Lamar (March 28), New Orleans (April 13) and Southeastern Louisiana (April 15).

Other feature matches on the road include a March 16 trip to Texas A&M-Corpus Christi and a late non-conference meeting with Rice on March 31 in Houston. The Southland Conference Tournament is set for April 27-29 in Beaumont.