Saturday, April 14 • Huntsville, Texas • 1 p.m. McAdams Tennis Center
Sam Houston (10-5, SLC 5-3) vs. New Orleans (9-9, SLC 3-6)
Sunday, April 15 • Huntsville, Texas • 12 noon McAdams Tennis Center
Sam Houston (10-5, SLC 5-3) vs. Southeastern Louisiana (6-12, SLC 27) “Senior Day”
HUNTSVILLE -- As the Sam Houston women’s tennis team completes its 2018 home schedule this Saturday and Sunday, five Bearkat seniors will be making their final appearances at the McAdams Tennis Center. The contests against New Orleans and Southeastern Louisiana will begin at 1 p.m. on Saturday and 12 noon on Sunday, respectively.
Fabienne Gettwart from Germany and Mila Milanovic from Spain are four-year veterans for the Kats. Carrie Casey from Franklin, Texas and Khee Yen Wee from Singapore are three-time letter-winners. Clarissa Escamilla from San Antonio joined the squad in the fall as a senior walk-on.
The four multi-year letter-winners are unique among the senior classes that have preceded them in the more than 40-year history of Sam Houston women’s tennis. Each of the quartet ranks among the top 25 singles players and doubles teams in career victories. No other Bearkat tennis senior class can claim that distinction.
The two four-year veterans, Milanovic (61 career wins) and Gettwart (55 victories), stand fourth and ninth, respectively in SHSU’s career singles standings. Casey, who played her freshman year at Midwestern State in Wichita Falls, ranks 15th all-time with 43 victories. Wee, who bounced back from a sophomore season when she battled injuries to become an All-Southland Conference second team selection as a junior last year, moved into the Kat top 25 with her 30th career singles win last weekend at McNeese. As doubles teams, Casey and Milanovic pair to rank seventh all-time in career victories while Gettwart and Wee stand 18th as a duo.
Escamilla, one of seven members of the tennis team who produced a perfect 4.0 grade point average during the 2017 fall semester, has contributed to the Bearkats’ success this spring with her hard work on the practice court and her support on the sidelines during the matches.
“These five seniors are an amazing group of young ladies,” head coach Rob Hubbard said. “Each has gone the extra mile to help make this program successful. They are respected by their teammates and, with their success in the class room, their classmates. I’m proud to have had the opportunity to coach them the past two years.”
The Bearkats have a lot riding on the outcomes of the two final home matches of 2018 this weekend. The same is true for their foes UNO and SLU. Sam Houston enters the weekend tied for fifth place in the league standings with Abilene Christian. Both squads have 5-3 league mark and sit a half-game behind fourth place Abilene Christian (6-3). Sam Houston holds the head-to-head tiebreaker with both ACU and UCA and both the Wildcats and the Bears have duels with Corpus Christi this weekend as well. McNeese (9-1), Northwestern State (8-1) and A&M-Corpus Christi (7-1) hold down the top three spots.
A weekend sweep against the two Louisiana foes combined with a victory at Nicholls in Thibodaux a week from Saturday would earn the Bearkats a top four seed in the Southland Conference post-season tournament in Beaumont the final weekend in April.
In the 26 seasons since Southland tennis expanded to more than five teams, Sam Houston has finished in the league’s top four five times. The last season the Kats were top four in the Southland was in 2013 when Sam Houston’s women placed third.
“All the girls know we have to face each match one at a time,” Hubbard said. “New Orleans, Southeastern Louisiana and Nicholls are still battling for a spot in the tournament and will be bringing their best. To win, we have to keep doing the things that have made us successful in our victories this spring.”
Sam Houston holds a 10-5 overall in dual match play this spring. In 31 years of NCAA Division I women’s tennis, the Bearkats’ 2018 win total represents only the seventh season with double digit victories. New Orleans enters Saturday’s competition with a 9-9 overall record and a 3-6 mark in Southland action. Southeastern Louisiana owns a 6-12 season slate and is 2-7 in league play.
SERIES RECORD WITH NEW ORLEANS
UNO holds a 4-1 advantage in the series between the Bearkats and the Privateers. Sam Houston won the first meeting 4-1 in Huntsville in 2013, New Orleans’ first season as a Southland Conference member. Since then UNO has won four straight including a 4-1 victory in 2017 in Louisiana when the Bearkats had to forfeit a doubles match and two singles contests playing with only four players due to injuries.
SERIES RECORD WITH SOUTHEASTERN LOUISIANA
The Lions own a 14-8 advantage over the Bearkats in the all-time series between the two squads. Sam Houston won 4-3 in last year’s contest in Hammond.