Sam Houston's Sotnikova Named SLC Women's Tennis Player Of The Year

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FRISCO, Texas - Irina Sotnikova, the "winningest" singles and doubles player in the history of Sam Houston State University, has capped her senior season by being named as Southland Conference women's tennis "Player of the Year."

The Riga, Latvia, native compiled a 26-1 record during the 2008-09 tennis season that included a 14-1 mark in spring dual matches and an undefeated run through the SLC regular season, all at number one snigles.

In doubles, Sotnikova paired with senior Peta Taylor of Perth Australia for a 26-3 overall record at number one doubles.

Additionally, Sotnikova was a first team All-Southland Conference selection and paired with Taylor as a first team honoree in doubles. Taylor was named second team All-SLC at number three singles.

The honor marks the third year in a row for Sotnikova to be named All-Southland. Taylor is being honored as All-SLC for the second time in her career.

Together, Sotnikova and Taylor rank one and two, respectively, in career singles and doubles victories at Sam Houston. Sotnikova stands 85-24 in singles and 96-20 with all partners in doubles during her four years as a Bearkat. Taylor's career won-loss mark stands at 61-50 in singles and 79-25 in doubles.

As Sam Houston State's number one doubles team the past two years, the pair are 50-10.

"Irina and Peta not only are fantastic competitors and tennis players, they're also fantastic young women who have matured into unselfish leaders who have been tremendous assets to our program," SHSU head coach Jim Giachino said. "They've been a joy to coach."

Sotnikova and Taylor will have an opportunity to add to their victory totals this weekend when the Bearkats play in the Southland Conference post-season tournament at HEB Tennis Center in Corpus Christi.

Sam Houston is the No. 6 seed and will face No. 4 Texas-San Antonio at 12 noon Friday. Semifinals are Saturday and finals Sunday. Texas-Arlington is the No. 1 seed.

The complete 2009 All-Southland Conference women's tennis team:

2008-09 All-Southland Conference Women's Tennis Teams
First Team All-Southland Conference
Singles School Class
1 - Irina Sotnikova Sam Houston Sr.
2 - Maria Gutierrez Lamar Sr.
3 - Kathrin Lange Northwestern St So.
4 - Holly Phillips UTSA Jr.
5 - Kiki Kruse Texas State Jr.
6 - Nikola Matovivoa UT Arlington Fr.

1 - Irina Sotnikova/Peta Taylor Sam Houston St Sr./Jr.
2 - Kathrin Lange/Bianca Schulz Northwestern St So./So.
3 - Nathalie Wallin/Holly Phillips UTSA Sr./Jr.

Second Team All-Southland Conference
Singles School Class
1 - Iva Velkovska Southeastern La. Sr.
2 - Ashley Ellis Texas State Sr.
3 - Peta Taylor Sam Houston St Sr.
4 - Katarina Mlcochova UT Arlington Fr.
5 - Maria Martinez-Romer UT Arlington Fr.
6 - Mackenzie Farmer Texas State Jr.

1 - Olga Bazhanova/Dragana Colic Northwestern St Fr./So.
2 - Nikola Matovivoa/Maria Martin UT Arlington Fr./Fr.
3 - Adna Curukovic/Daniela Posada* Northwestern St So./Sr.

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