Assudani sets two records in Bearkats victory over SFA

(SID) – The Sam Houston women’s tennis team blanked Stephen F. Austin 7-0 Sunday afternoon at McAdams Tennis Center to clinch a runner-up finish in the Southland Conference regular season standings and the number two seed at the SLC post-season tournament next weekend in San Antonio.

Sam Houston (12-4, 9-2 SLC) finished in a tie for second place with Texas-Arlington and earned the number two seed by virtue of the Bearkats 4-3 victory over UTA in the Kats’ first Southland Conference match of the year. Regular season champion Southeastern Louisiana defeated UTA in Hammond 6-1 on Sunday to earn their second consecutive league title with a perfect 11-0 record.

The Bearkats’ 12-4 season record represents Sam Houston State’s best ever NCAA Division I regular season mark. The second place finish and 9-2 conference record also are the best for the Bearkats in their 20 years in the Southland Conference.

Sunday was “Senior Day” at the McAdams Center as all four seniors won in their final home appearances.

Lata Assudani defeated Linda Harrison 6-3, 6-1 to run her career singles record to 57-38, the most career victories by a Sam Houston player. Assudani teamed with Irina Sotnikova to win 8-0 at number one doubles. Assudani is 57-25 in her three years as a Bearkat in doubles, also the school’s best career mark.

Assudani eclipsed the marks of Ivette Andrade, who went 53-45 from 2000 to 2002 in singles, and Nancy Metcalf, who was 52-27 with all partners in doubles from 1982 to 1986.

Seniors Brooke Mills and Peta Taylor won at number two doubles and at number three and four singles, respectively, to close out their season on winning notes while the Bearkats’ fourth senior, Lauren Janak, paired with junior Patty Manzur for a victory at number three doubles.

“These four young women have provided excellent leadership for this team this season and it was great to have them all win in their final home match,” SHSU head coach Jim Giachina said. “Earning the number two seed is an important accomplishment. Now we have to turn our focus to the (conference) tournament..”

The top six finishers in the regular season standings earn berths in the tournament to begin Friday at Texas-San Antonio’s courts. Sam Houston State will receive a first round bye, then play the winner of number three-seeded Texas-Arlington’s match with the number six seed (still to be determined).

Number one seed Southeastern Louisiana has earned the Southland Conference’s automatic NCAA playoff berth by winning each of the last two Southland Conference Tournaments. The Lions eliminated Sam Houston in the semifinals in last year’s tournament and finished first in the SLC this season with a perfect 11-0 record, including a 4-1 victory over the Bearkats on April 7.

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