Friday, Feb. 8 • Plano, Texas • 2 p.m. • Lifetime Fitness Center
Sam Houston State (3-2) vs. North Texas (3-3)
PLANO, TEXAS – The Sam Houston women’s tennis team begins a series of four road contests when the Bearkats take on North Texas in a 2 p.m. dual match Friday.
For the second consecutive week, the opponent is a former Southland Conference rival that now competes in Conference USA. The SHSU women defeated UTSA 5-2 Saturday in Huntsville. The Roadrunners were a member of the Southland from 1992 to 2012. North Texas was an SLC rival from 1988 to 1996.
Originally slated to be played outdoors on the UNT Courts in Denton, Friday’s dual match has been moved indoors to the Lifetime Fitness Center in Plano due to a forecast of inclement weather. Sam Houston stands 3-2 for the year while North Texas owns a 3-3 dual match mark.
“We’re learning a lot about ourselves against a challenging non-conference schedule,” SHSU head coach Rob Hubbard said. “Hopefully we will continue to grow from this as we start the all-important conference season March 1.”
Singles play has been a positive for the team in their early duels. Sam Houston has won 20 of its 30 individual singles contests in the team’s first five matches. Including fall tournament action, the Kats have posted 68 singles wins overall during the 2018-19 season.
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).
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. Junior Lusine Chobanyan has seen action in four matches at number five. Sophomore Roos Gerritsen has three 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. Ryli Ruffin is red-shirting as a freshman in 2019.
North Texas brings a 3-3 record into Friday’s action. The Mean Green own dual match victories over UTEP, Abilene Christian and Lamar.
SERIES vs. NORTH TEXAS
Friday’s match marks the 20th meeting for Sam Houston and North Texas in the 37-year history of Bearkat women’s tennis. The Mean Green hold a 17-2 advantage in the rivalry. The Bearkats’ two victories came in the pair’s last meeting. The Orange and White edged UNT 4-3 in Denton in 2006 and followed up with a 5-2 victory in Huntsville in 2007.
Friday’s trip to Plano marks the first of four road trips that will close out the non-conference portion of the Bearkats’ 2019 dual match schedule. Following Friday’s action, the Sam Houston women are scheduled to play at Texas A&M Sunday at 4 p.m., at Louisiana Tech in Ruston Friday, Feb. 22 at 1 p.m. and at Louisiana in Lafayette Sunday, Feb. 24 at 11 a.m. 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.