Sotnikova, Taylor reach finals at U. of Houston Fall Invitational

Rain prevented completion of the tournament, but the Sam Houston State women’s tennis team fared well when they could get on the courts in the University of Houston Fall Invitational, the third tournament competition for the team this fall.

Bearkat players Irina Sotnikova and Peta Taylor reached the finals in their respective singles flights.

“It was exciting to see how well the hard work we have been doing paid off for three of our players this weekend.” SHSU Head Coach Jim Giachinia said.

“Irina played a very strong opening match in winning her first round against New Mexico State. And, even though she lost a nail-biter in the final, I was very excited to see her high caliber play.”

Sotnikova posted victories over players from New Mexico State and Stephen F. Austin to reach the finals.

Taylor claimed victory over competitors from Southern Mississippi and the University of Houston.

“I was even more excited to see how well Peta played,” Giachino said. “She has grown so much as a person and player since last year, and I knew it was just a matter of time before she started to show the results of that growth on the courts. She played two excellent matches against Southern Mississippi and Houston, and it took the rain, rather than an opponent, to cool her off. Kat tennis fans will be hearing much more about her for the remainder of the year.”

Paty Manzur won in the first round over a player from New Mexico State. However, she was only able to get in one match because of the rain.

“Paty also had her best tournament of the year. With all of the injuries she has had to come back from during the past two years, it was a pleasure to see her start to win again. If the rain had not cancelled her match, I believe she would have joined Irina and Peta in the final,” Giachino said. “Irina and Peta reaching the semi-finals of the doubles draw was not surprising. They are too talented not to have gone that far in the tournament. But they started out slowly in the penultimate match and you can’t afford to do that when it is just a single 8-game pro set.

“I was also pleased to see that Nora and Roxana played better as a team at No.2 doubles. They should have won their match against New Mexico State, but when they earned the winning edge, they backed off a little instead of going for the win. Good teams will recognize that immediately and regain the initiative, and that’s what happened. But the experience will make them stronger for us in the future.

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