Kats drop season opener 4-3 to UTPA

Sam Houston State tennis dropped its season opener to Texas Pan-American on Sunday at the McAdams Tennis Center.

The Kats fell 4-3 to UTPA, with juniors Karen Martinez and Maddie Mortimore getting the only wins in singles competition.

“It was exciting being back out on the court competing again,” Mortimore said. “As a team we did well for our first match of the season and will take what we learnt from this weekend’s dual match to the practice court.”

Last year, the Kats were able to sweep their season opener 7-0 over North Central Texas College.

“Coming into today’s match, we knew UTPA was a much improved team over last year,” head coach Jim Giachino said. “With our freshmen playing their first collegiate match ever, nerves were a factor. We’re going to be okay once we get some more match experience.”

In doubles, Martinez and senior Olivia Battye paired for a 7-5 win over UTPA’s Reegan Greenwood and Katia Stavroulaki playing in the one spot. In the two spot, Mortimore and freshman Mila Milanovic dominated the Broncs’ Christel Amsallem and Lison Le Biavant 6-1 to earn SHSU the point in doubles. Freshman Fabienne Gettwart and junior Bailey VanDyke lost their match 6-4.

Mortimore played in the sixth spot in singles and was able to pull off the win in three sets 6-1, 6-7, 6-1.

“Sunday’s match highlighted individual improvements that must be made in each team member’s game as flaws in one’s game become clear while performing under pressure,” Mortimore said. “This we’ll be mostly focusing on that. As a team we need to practice more pressurized situations in training so we become more familiar with dealing with emotions that come with competition.”

Martinez easily got the point in singles in the fifth spot against UTPA’s Natacha Minc 6-1, 6-2.

Milanovic had a three-set finish in the fourth spot, but the ball would not serve in her favor as she fell 2-6, 7-6, 5-7.

The other Kats dropped in straight sets.

Battye returned to the number one spot after spending most of last season in that spot. She was bested 6-1, 6-3. Van Dyke fell 6-1, 6-1 in the third spot while Gettwart played in the second spot but was blanked 6-0 before losing the second set 7-6.

SHSU next hits the court Friday against Southern Methodist in Dallas. Last year, the Mustangs swept the Kats 5-0.

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