Tennis action heats up as weather cools down

The Sam Houston women’s tennis team is traveling to Texas A&M University Friday to compete in the annual Intercollegiate Tennis Association’s (ITA) Southwestern Regional Championship. The tournament features the top 128 singles players and the top 64 doubles teams from NCAA Division I women’s programs in Texas, Louisiana and Arkansas.”This will be a pretty tough tournament,” said Ivette Andrade, who was voted Sam’s “Most Valuable Player” last year. “There are a lot of big schools that we will be competing against.”Entrants include teams from the University of Texas, Rice, SMU, Arkansas State and A&M to name a few.According to ITA guidelines, any coach within the region who is an ITA member may enter his or her number one and two singles players and number one doubles team. Remaining spots in both singles and doubles draws are filled by the ITA Regional Committee on an at-large basis. Competitors from SHSU include Andrade, Kristin Wooten, Stephanie Sutton and Kim Gardiner.”This wasn’t something I was expecting as a freshman,” said Sutton. “The tournament will be good experience for us.”The team has competed in two tournaments this fall season with the third at the University of Texas at Arlington being canceled because of rain.The tennis team traveled to North Texas in Denton where in No. 1 singles Andrade defeated Brandi Mathews of Northwestern State in the first round but then lost in the second round to Siayareh Rambally of North Texas. She advanced to the third place match which was canceled because of rain.Wooten was defeated in the first round by Catherine Alain of North Texas and defeated by Amana Tabisz of Stephen F. Austin in the second round. Her seventh place match, was also canceled because of rain.In No. 2 singles Gardiner lost to Berenice Ferrer from McNeese in the first round and then defeated Jessica Beauchene of Stephen F. Austin in the second. She reached the fifth place finals before rain stopped the tournament. In No. 3 singles Sutton defeated Megan Taylor of McNeese but was defeated by the Layla Tohme University of Arkansas at Little Rock. She advanced to the third place match, which was also canceled because of rain.The team also traveled to SFA. In No. 1 singles Andrade beat Maria Fernandez of UT-Pan American and beat Amanda Tabisz of SFA. She then lost to Arina Rathani and to Vinka Rampen both of the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. Gardiner defeated Brandi Matthews of Northwestern State and then lost to Celine Merlini of UT-Pan American. She lost to Jocelyn Hogan of Southwest Texas in the fifth place match. In No. 2 singles Wooten defeated Kristen Beedy from UNT and lost to Amandin Hubert of the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. She then beat Somer McFarlain of McNeese and finally lost to Sutton in the fifth place match. Sutton beat Robin Sign of the University of Louisiana at Lafayette and lost to Melissa Hodges of North Texas. She went on to defeat Sara Convery of Southwest Texas and beat Wooten to finish fifth.”We have a really good team this year,” Andrade said. “We expect to do well in next weekend’s tournament.”The tournament automatically qualifies the winner and runner-up in singles, and the winning team in doubles for the Rolex-ITA National Indoor Intercollegiate Championship. This tournament will be held at Brookhaven Country Club in Dallas in February.”This (tournament) is a great opportunity,” Sutton said. “I think we will play well and have a successful weekend.”

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