MATCHES 11 & 12
Friday, March 8 • Abilene, Texas • 1 p.m. • Teague Events Center
Sam Houston State (7-3, 2-0) vs. Abilene Christian (5-7, 1-0)
Sunday, March 10 • San Antonio, Texas • 11 a.m. • Mabry Tennis Center
Sam Houston State (7-3, 2-0) vs. Incarnate Word (3-5, 0-1)
ABILENE, TEXAS – The Bearkat women’s tennis team faces its toughest challenge so far in the young 2019 Southland Conference schedule as they hit the road to face Abilene Christian Friday afternoon.
Sam Houston and Abilene Christian are two of five squads that emerged from the first weekend of league play unbeaten. The Kats defeated Nicholls 5-2 and New Orleans 4-3 in Huntsville. The Wildcats opened with a 4-3 victory at Southeastern Louisiana but saw their Sunday contest against defending co-champion McNeese rained out. The SHSU road swing will conclude Sunday with an 11 a.m. duel in San Antonio with the University of the Incarnate Word.
“Abilene Christian always is a tough opponent, especially on their home court,” Sam Houston head coach Rob Hubbard said. “And we can’t overlook what a challenge UIW will be on Sunday. We got some solid performances in singles in the two big wins last weekend. We will have to give a maximum effort both times we step on the court this weekend.”
Sam Houston’s two league victories last weekend extended the program’s record-setting home winning streak at the McAdams Center to 13 matches. Combined with road wins in the team’s final two non-conference duels at Louisiana in Lafayette and Louisiana Tech in Rustin two weeks ago, the Bearkats own a four-match winning streak.
The Kats sport an overall team won-loss record of 38-19 in dual match singles play this season. Going down the line-up, number one player sophomore Sahaja Yamalapalli is 7-3, number two freshman Isidora Zivkovic is 8-2, number three sophomore Karla De La Luz Montalvo is 6-4 and number five sophomore Roos Gerritsen is 8-0.
Number four singles player junior Lusine Chobanyan owns a 15-10 overall singles mark in both dual match and fall tournament play. Yamalapalli, who earned Southland Conference “Player of the Week” honors Wednesday, is a 14-7 overall while Gerritsen (13-5), De La Luz Montalvo (12-9) and Zivkovic (11-8) have piled up double figure wins for the season.
The Bearkats finished third in last year’s Southland Conference race, the team’s best league performance since 2007 and the fourth time in 31 years for the program to place among the Southland’s top three. Abilene Christian tied for fifth place in the 2018 race while UIW placed seventh.
SERIES vs. ABILENE CHRISTIAN
In the 22 meetings between Sam Houston and Abilene Christian since the pair first met in tennis as members of the NCAA Division II Lone Star Conference in 1983, the Bearkats have defeated the Wildcats only twice. ACU’s 20-2 series record includes a 9-0 advantage over the Kats in Abilene. Sam Houston won a 4-3 thriller in Huntsville last spring. The Kats lost 4-1 indoors in their last visit to Abilene in 2017.
SERIES vs. UIW
Sam Houston owns a 6-0 advantage over Incarnate Word in the pair’s all-time women’s tennis series. The Bearkats defeated the Cardinals 6-1 in Huntsville last year. Sam Houston is 2-0 vs. UIW in San Antonio.
SOUTHLAND CONFERENCE WEEKEND SCHEDULE
Friday, March 8 – SHSU @ Abilene Christian; McNeese @ A&M-Corpus Christi; SFA @ UIW; Southeastern Louisiana @ Lamar; Central Arkansas @ New Orleans; Northwestern St. @ Nicholls
Sunday, March 10 – SHSU @ UIW; SFA @ Abilene Christian; Southeastern Louisiana @ A&M-Corpus Christi; McNeese @ Lamar; Northwestern St. @ New Orleans; Central Arkansas @ Nicholls
Sam Houston returns home Saturday, March 16, for a dual match with Stephen F. Austin. First serve at the McAdams Tennis Center is at 1 p.m.