HUNTSVILLE – After a three-match road swing that saw the team post a decisive win over a former conference foe and impressive singles performances against tough regional opponents, the Sam Houston women’s tennis team returns home to face a pair of familiar squads this weekend.
First, the Bearkats take on Louisiana Tech at 2:30 p.m. Friday at the McAdams Tennis Center. The women return Sunday at 11 a.m. to match up with Texas State. Sam Houston has a history with both opponents. The Kats and the Bulldogs first met in tennis in 1985 while Texas State is a former Southland Conference rival.
Sam Houston brings a 2-2 mark into Friday’s contest. The Kats opened the season Jan. 19 with a 6-1 victory over Prairie View A&M. A week later the SHSU women lost 5-2 to nationally-ranked Texas A&M in College Station and 6-1 to the University of Houston. Last Saturday, the Bearkats roared back with a 6-1 showing versus UTSA in the Alamo City.
During the past three weeks, Sam Houston players have earned honors from the Southland Conference. Freshman Lusine Chobanyan was named as the league’s women’s tennis “Player of the Week” following a pair of singles wins at the number six position in the contests against the Aggies and the Cougars. Chobanyan stands 4-0 in dual match singles play and is 11-3 overall including fall tournament play.
Senior Fabienne Gettwart was the runner-up in the Southland “Player-of-the-Week” voting after the opening weekend of dual match play. This past Monday, freshman Sahaja Yamalapalli was the runner-up in the weekly voting after a singles victory at number two and a doubles win with newcomer Rosalie Gerritsen at number three doubles.
Louisiana Tech split its opening matches of the season, falling 5-2 to North Texas then bouncing back to defeat Louisiana-Lafayette 4-3. The Bulldogs are making their second visit of the season to Huntsville, having played in the inaugural Sam Houston Fall Invitational tournament at McAdams in October. In singles, the La Tech top six players rolled up a 12-6 record in flighted play against Sam Houston, UT-Rio Grande Valley and UTSA. The Bulldogs went 5-4 in doubles action.
With four seniors in the line-up (Gettwart, Khee Yen Wee, Carrie Casey and Mila Milanovic) plus three newcomers (Yamalapalli, Chobanyan and Gerritsen), Sam Houston head coach Rob Hubbard fields an exciting blend of experience and youth for the coming 2018 season.
SAM HOUSTON vs. LOUISIANA TECH SERIES RECORD
Friday’s match marks the 16th meeting of the Bearkats and the Bulldogs on the tennis courts. Louisiana Tech owns a narrow 8-7 margin in the series, having won the last two meetings 6-1 in Huntsville last year and 4-3 in Ruston in 2003. Sam Houston last defeated La Tech in 2000, taking an 8-1 win on the road. The first tennis meeting between the pair was an SHSU 6-3 victory in Huntsville in 1985.