– Singles wins by Fabienne Gettwart, Sahaja Yamalapalli, Carrie Casey and Lusine Chobanyan propelled the Sam Houston women’s team to another 4-3 victory to hand Central Arkansas its first Southland Conference defeat of the 2018 season Saturday afternoon.

Once again, the Bearkats overcame dropping the doubles point to pull out a win in singles action. UCA, the runner-up in last year’s Southland race, came into the match with a perfect 2-0 league mark. Sam Houston ups its 2018 dual match record to 9-4, already equaling the number of victories for the complete 2017 season. Last year’s nine wins marked the most for the SHSU program in eight seasons. The Kats stand 4-2 in the Southland.

“The ladies came out and took control early in singles,” head coach Rob Hubbard said. “Obviously, we could make things a lot easier on ourselves by winning the doubles point. But we’re happy with a 4-3 win over a strong team like UCA. We prepared well this week and are going to keep working to get better.”

The match marked the fourth time this season Sam Houston has lost the doubles point but come back to win in singles. Overall in its 13 contests this spring, the Kats stand 51-26 in singles for a 66.2 winning percentage.

Yamalapalli, a freshman playing in the number two position for only the third time this year, got the Bearkats on the board with a 6-0 6-1 victory over Chunan Xiang. Yamalapalli stands 10-3 overall in singles and is unbeaten in six Southland matches.

Next, Gettwart topped Pornpawee Pramethong 6-4 7-6 in the number one singles. The senior won the second set tie-breaker 7-5 to wrap up her fifth consecutive singles win. For the season, Gettwart stands 10-3 and is 5-1 at number one in Southland action.

Chobanyan won 6-3 7-5 in a battle with Amiru Shimoguchi in the number five position. The sophomore upped her season record to 11-1 and stands 5-1 in league play. Her performance today marked her second appearance at the number five spot.

Casey picked up the match-clinching victory at number four singles by defeating QiLi Ma 6-4, 6-4. Casey owns a 10-3 overall record in singles this year and is 4-2 in Southland action.

“I’ve been kind of struggling the past week so today’s win was important to me in getting my confidence back up,” Casey said. “We play a lot of sets in practice to prepare for each match and that work helped a lot.”

Both of UCA’s two singles wins came in hard-fought matches. Bearkat senior Mila Milanovic took Marli Van Heerden to three sets before falling 6-3 0-6 6-1. Khee Yen Wee, also a senior for SHSU, split sets with Hee-Jin Oh, falling 7-5 in the first but bouncing back for a 7-5 win in the second set. With the match already clinched Oh won 10-7 in a super-tie breaker to earn the point.

Sam Houston returns to action next Saturday when the Bearkats play host to Lamar University in a 1 p.m. match at the McAdams Tennis Center.

Tennis Match Results:

Sam Houston State 4, Central Arkansas 3

Mar 24, 2018 at Huntsville, Texas (McAdams Center)

Singles competition

  1. Fabienne Gettwart (SHSU) def. Pornpawee Pramethong (UCA) 6-4, 7-6 (7-5)
  2. Sahaja Yamalapalli (SHSU) def. Chunan Xiang (UCA) 6-0, 6-1
  3. Hee-Jin Oh (UCA) def. Khee Yen Wee (SHSU) 7-5, 5-7, 1-0 (10-7)
  4. Carrie Casey (SHSU) def. QiLi Ma (UCA) 6-4, 6-4
  5. Lusine Chobanyan (SHSU) def. Amiru Shimoguchi (UCA) 6-3 7-5
  6. Marli Van Heerden (UCA) def. Mila Milanovic (SHSU) 6-3, 0-6, 6-1

Doubles competition

  1. Pornpawee Pramethong/Marli Van Heerden (UCA) def. Carrie Casey/Mila Milanovic (SHSU) 6-4
  2. Amiru Shimoguchi/Chunan Xiang (UCA) def. Fabienne Gettwart/Roos Gerritsen (SHSU) 6-2
  3. QiLi Ma/Rada Manataweewat (UCA) vs. Sahaja Yamalapalli/Khee Yen Wee (SHSU) 4-3 unfinished