The Sam Houston women’s tennis team will be looking for lightning to strike a second time when the Bearkats head to Beaumont for the Southland Conference women’s tennis championship tournament this weekend.
Last year in Nacogdoches, the No. 7 seeded Kats sent No. 2 seed Texas State packing with a thrilling 4-3 victory in the first round. The win avenged a 5-2 loss to the Bobcats during the regular season.
Friday, Sam Houston enters the tournament as the No. 6 seed and will face the tournament’s host team No. 3 seed Lamar.
The Cardinals edged the Kats 4-3 in the pair’s regular season meeting on April 6. But the Sam Houston netters are determined to turn the tables once again.
“The first match with Lamar was a very close one,” Sam Houston head coach Jim Giachino said. “The team is looking forward to the rematch.”
All three Bearkat victories in the first meeting came in singles as Sheridan Currie, Natalie Petaia and Maddie Mortimore won at number two, four and five, respectively.
The doubles point will be key to the Kat hopes for a repeat upset in the tournament. Lamar took the regular season double points with 8-4 wins in the number one and two doubles pro sets. Mortimore and Kayla Stevenson won the number three doubles 8-6.
Sam Houston’s foe Lamar brings a 7-2 conference record and an 11-8 finish overall. The Bearkats put together a 4-5 Southland mark and an 8-11 overall record.
Regular season champion Southeastern Louisiana is the top seed in the field of eight in the tournament which begins at 11 a.m. at the Beaumont Municipal Tennis Center Friday.
The Kats and Cardinals meet at 11 a.m. No. 2 Texas A&M-Corpus Christi and No. 7 McNeese State face off at the same time.
The Lions will face No. 8 seed Central Arkansas and No. 4 Northwestern State will battle No. 5 Stephen F. Austin in opening round matches Friday at 2 p.m.
The semifinal matches will be played Saturday at 2 p.m. The championship match is slated for Sunday at 2 p.m. Admission to all matches is free. The winner earns the conference’s automatic bid to the NCAA championship.
Sam Houston is making its ninth consecutive appearance in the tournament.
The Bearkats reached the Southland semifinals in 2005, 2006 and 2012. Sam Houston defeated Lamar in the first round in 2005 and Texas-San Antonio in 2006.
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