The weather is getting warmer, the rain is clearing and springtime is just around the corner. With spring comes BearKat tennis.
The SHSU women’s tennis team is nine matches deep into its 2003 spring season and currently posts a record of 4-5.
This season, there are several new additions to the team.
Following the resignation of head coach Michael Hunt last fall, assistant coach Scott Shankles has stepped up to the plate to act as interim coach for the spring.
Although Hunt will be missed, the team is excited about their new leader.
” He has a lot of energy,” said sophomore Erika Rudich. “He is really focused and is clear about his goals for us and for the season.”
” He’s really cool,” said sophomore Shanna Elias. “He played tennis in college, and that helps him to relate to us.”
So far, the squad has been traveling quite a bit, having only hosted two matches at home.
“We’ve been on the road a lot, but we have several conference matches here at home, and that home court advantage always helps,” Elias said.
Last month, freshman Tara Shelander was named Southland Conference player of the week.
During the week of February 7-11, Shelander went undefeated in singles in the three matches played that week, and moved up the ranks as she did so.
She won at the No. 2 spot in her first match against Southern University, then again against Texas A&M Corpus Christi and then moved to the No. 1 spot and defeated Elisabet Mateos of the University of Texas – Pan America.
This weekend, the team will host two matches.
Friday at 10 a.m., the team will face Abilene Christian University, a team that gave the squad a tough time in the 2002 season.
On Sunday at 2 p.m., the girls will host the University of North Carolina – Charlotte. Both teams should give SHSU some fierce competition.
“It’s going to be a tough weekend for us. Both teams are solid, but we really want to compete well. A win this weekend would help us a lot going into conference next Tuesday,” Rudich said.
Next Tuesday will mark the start of conference competition for the team.
The team will start with the University of Texas – Arlington, the SLC’s tennis powerhouse, in Huntsville at 2:30 p.m..
“UTA is always tough and they give us good matches and good competition,” Elias said. “We just hope that we pick up a couple of wins this weekend to give us a little extra confidence to bring to that match.”