The Sam Houston State University Bearkats tennis team took home two victories over the weekend versus the New Mexico State University Aggies and the University of Texas- Rio Grande Valley. The two wins improve the Kats’ record to 5-2 as they currently cling to a four-game winning streak.
The Bearkats started off their weekend against NMSU. SHSU had won back-to-back matches entering Saturday, and they kept that trend going. They swept five of the six matches and shut out the Aggies 6-0 to cap off a dominant performance. A big help to the Bearkats was their young cast of players. Sophomore transfer Lusine Chobanyan remained undefeated and had a 5-0 record on the season at the end of the day. She would later improve that record to 6-0 versus UTRGV. Freshman duo Roos Gerritsen and Sahaja Yamalapali have also proven to be a great addition to the tennis squad. The two won their doubles match Saturday afternoon.
Although it may seem that the young set of players are at the center of the team, head coach Rob Hubbard gives credit to the upper classmen for their leadership.
“Our newcomers are doing well,” Hubbard said. “Roos has just been with us a little bit more than a month and is still adjusting. Sahaja and Roos are looking good in doubles. The seniors are providing us with great leadership. They are raising their levels.”
The Bearkats next match was against UTRGV Sunday. The victory was not a clean sweep like the day before, but SHSU still finished on top and took home the victory 4-3. All of SHSU’s victories came from the singles competition as seniors Khee Yen Wee, Carrie Casey, Mila Milanovic, and Chobanyan won their matches.
“I knew we were going to have a difficult time today,” Hubbard said. “Texas-Rio Grande Valley is my alma mater and I follow them closely. They remind me of the turn-around team we had last year. We weren’t quite ready for them in the doubles. The singles we did fine although we left a couple out on the court.”
Hubbard is also impressed with the way his players handled their single matches.
“Khee had a good turnaround in her singles play,” Hubbard said. “She’s been sick and injured and played hurt. Now she is close to being 100 percent. Today she found her game and did a good job. She handled her opponent from start to finish. Carrie Casey played a whale of a match. She was on that girl from start to finish. Mila’s win and Lucy remaining undefeated also stands out.”
With the pair of victories, SHSU is now 5-2 on the season. The two losses came against Texas A&M and the University of Houston earlier in the month. Even though the team has had a great start to the season, they feel that there are some areas that they can improve on before conference play begins.
“We have things to work on, but overall we’re happy,” Hubbard said. “Obviously any time you get a win against a tough team like UT-RGV it’s a good thing. There are some areas where we need to improve before the start of conference play in March.”
SHSU will now prepare for its matches against UT Arlington, which will take place Saturday in Arlington.