SHSU tennis has strong showing at ITA regionals

Sam Houston State’s number one doubles team of Lata Assudani and Irina Sotnikova reached the quarterfinals of the Intercollegiate Tennis Association Regional tournament in College Station before falling to a nationally-ranked team from Texas A&M.

The performance marks the first top finish ever in the ITA Regionals by a Sam Houston doubles team. The regionals feature the top players from every NCAA Division I university in Texas, Louisiana, and Arkansas.

A&M’s Anna Blagodarova and Tiffany Clifford advanced to the semifinals with a 9-8 victory. The tiebreaker score after the pro set was tied at 8-8 was 10-6.

The doubles champion will earn a spot in the November 3-6 ITA National Intercollegiate Indoor Championships hosted by The Ohio State University at the Racquet Club of Columbus.

“I couldn’t be prouder of the girls,” head coach Scott Shankles said. “They had a great tournament with some tremendous results. Obviously, having to go to a tiebreaker, the match with A&M could have gone either way. The girls came out agressive and gave it their best. What a great way to complete our fall schedule. We’re really looking forward to the spring.”

Assudani and Sotnikova defeated Marina Chiarelli and Mykayla Hedburg of LSU 8-3 in the first round. The Bearkats then upset 10th seeded Kelly Baritot and Petra Dizdar of Texas (10th seed) 9-8.

In the round of 16, the SHSU doubles team downed Ermilija Armoudovska and Iva Velkouska of Southeastern Louisiana 8-6. Armoudovska and Velkouska upset the number two seeded team in the tournament in the second round.

In singles, Sotnikova reached the second round of the main draw after coming from behind to defeat Hedburg of LSU 3-6 6-2 7-5. Sotnikova lost in the second round to 7th seeded Sarah Foster of Texas A&M 6-4 3-6 7-6.

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