Sam Houston State’s tennis team heads into this upcoming season with high expectations after a disappointing end to last season.
In the opening play of the fall season at the Northwestern State Demon Invitational, the Bearkats finished with seven singles victories and two doubles wins. SHSU will next play this weekend at the Stephen F. Austin Lumberjack Classic.
The Bearkats bring in four new players to the squad: freshmen Fabienne Gettwart, Mila Milanovic, Caitlyn Mitchell and sophomore Jana Lindenthal. The new additions have given SHSU a new feel to get back into being a strong Southland Conference team, according to junior Maddie Mortimore.
“The team dynamics are different now,” Mortimore said. “With three of the four being freshmen and one being a transfer, we are now quite a young team. They bring a new perspective to the team.”
It has been a weird adjustment playing an individual game with the team in mind for the new players, but they said it’s been a good transition into the SHSU style of play.
“Tennis is an individual sport,” Mitchell said. “Growing up, we’ve always been [about] us. Coming to college, since it’s a team, we’ve had to get to learn how to play as a team and support each other as a team.”
The team has been playing a lot more matches during training to prepare for the season. The Bearkats have been mixing different matches with one another and changing out double partners to put together the best seeded squad with the SLC season in hindsight.
“We’re trying different options,” Gettwart said.
This year’s squad brings a great variety in styles of play to the court, Mortimore said.
“We have defensive players, attacking players, and lots of other types of players,” Mortimore said. “So it’s definitely very different than last year but in a positive way.”
Mortimore cites the team’s offseason preparation as the main reason to why Bearkat fans can expect to see much more success on the court this season.
“We definitely are training as we want to perform in the spring,” said Mortimore. “Right off the bat we are aiming to win conference. That is the prominent thing in our minds when we are training.”
The Bearkats will head to Nacogdoches this upcoming weekend for the SFA Lumberjack Classic before traveling to Waco the following weekend for the ITA Regionals.