Lady Bearkats earn first dual-meet victory of 2007

FAYETTEVILLE (SID) – Led by Irina Sotnikova and Lata Assudani, who combined for a victory in the number one doubles and won their singles matches at number one and two positions, respectively, the Sam Houston State women’s tennis team picked up its first dual match victory of the 2007 season in Fayetteville Saturday night at the University of Arkansas’s indoor facility.

Sam Houston State swept doubles to pick up the first point of the match.

Assudani and Sotnikova won 8-4 at number one, Brooke Mills and Peta Taylor took number two doubles 8-2, and Emma McDougall and Lauren Janak won at number three 8-2.

“We started out very strong in doubles considering our lack of practice time the past three week due to the weather,” SHSU head coach Jim Giachino said.

“We are not match tough by a long stretch, but they came out with a great deal of determination. We gave away games because this was only our second match, but the overall intensity and communication, which is no vital in good doubles teams, never wavered.”

Mills and Janak won at the number three and six positions to provide the other two points for the Bearkats. Sam Houston State now stands 1-1 in dual match play for the 2007 season.

“Irina and Lata were exceptionally strong in their singles matches,” Giachino said. “Both of their opponents were very solid players, but Irina and Lata were so strong that they made them look a lot weaker than they really are.

“Brooke’s match, to me, was a marvelous example of heart winning out over skill. She went down 5-0 in probably 10 minutes. She wasn’t playing poorly, it was just that her opponent was playing perfect tennis. But Brooke kept fighting. She was actually down 5-0, 40-love in the first set and came all the way back to tie the set at 6-all before losing it in a tiebreaker. But rather than becoming discouraged, she continued to pick away, point by point, and slowly started to impose her will on her opponent. In the end,

Brooke, on a day when she did not have her best game, proved the stronger mentally. It was an exceptional win for the Bearkats.

“Lauren was playing her first singles match in almost a year, and I have never seen her play as well as she did. She kept her focus and slowly started to control the tempo of the match. She is playing with confidence now, and she was the Bearkat who earned us the match point with her win.

“Emma played for the first time this year after going through some serious medical problems. She played very strong in doubles, and I was very encouraged that she was able to rebound 10 minutes later and play and win an 8 game pro set in singles. That bodes good things for the team when she gets back to full strength.”

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