The SHSU tennis team dropped its first conference match yesterday afternoon 5-2. The netters faced the University of Texas at Arlington, the top team in the Southland Conference.
The match began with doubles play. Tara Shelander and Erika Rudich lost their match at the number one doubles spot 8-5. The number two pair, Mounia Hassib and Fati Benboubker, dropped their pro-set 8-3.
The Bearkats were credited with the win for the number three doubles spot by forfeit, since UTA only had five players rather than six. However, the Mavericks took the doubles point, starting the competition in the lead 1-0.
The girls then got singles play under way. Shaneen Ludwig picked up the first singles point for the Bearkats with a default from UTA at the number six singles position. Number three player, Benboubker, walked away with the only singles victory of the match. She defeated UTA’s Goldshav 6-4, 7-5. Mounia Hassib battled through a tough match, splitting sets with UTA’s Rozvalne, but losing in the super tie-breaker 6-4, 3-6, 0-1 (10-7).
Shelander was defeated 6-3, 6-2, as was Rudich 6-3, 6-0. Jennifer Pechal also lost 6-0, 6-0. Despite a great effort from the Bearkats, it was UTA who made the lesser amount of mistakes.
Rudich said it was the amount of mistakes that may have cost her the win during her match.
“I played pretty well, but in the end, she just made less mistakes than I did,” Rudich said.
“UTA is a tough team to face,” Rudich said. “They are a solid team from number one to number six. Despite the loss of their number one singles player due to injury, UTA adjusted their game and stepped up to the challenge.”
Rudich said the team’s first conference defeat will not slow them down.
“We will, however, be ready for them next time,” she said.
Up next for the Bearkats will be a trip to Louisiana March 22-23 to play McNeese State and Lamar.
Their next home matches will be Saturday, March 29.