Tennis looks to take the conference

Photo courtesy of Jacob Hodges

Following a stunning 10-1 season, the Sam Houston women’s tennis team will head into the 2021 Southland Conference Tennis tournament with a share of the top seed.

This is a first for Sam Houston and the University of New Orleans, as neither school had previously secured a top seed in their past seasons. The Bearkats are a strong contender for the title, with several of their match wins being complete lockouts or limiting their opponents to less than three points. With their top-notch season play already an achievement in it of itself, the Bearkats look to dominate the competition and bring home the crown.

Two-time 2021 Southland Conference Tennis Player of the Week and reigning SLC player of the year junior Sahaja Yamalapalli has led this impressive Bearkats roster to victory multiple times throughout the season. Yamalapalli won every single one of her single sets this season, defeating a total of 17 opponents in both sets. She is the only Southland Conference singles leader who went undefeated this season.

Yamalapalli leads a talented roster, including notable players such as senior Constandena Nicolaou, who was a second-team all-conference player, as well as junior Karla De La Luz Montalvo and sophomore Isidora Zivkovic, both of whom were awarded third-team all-conference. The Bearkats also claim one of the top tennis pairs in the conference, with Montalvo and sophomore Petra Kaszas managing an impressive 9-1 in doubles awarding them first-team all-conference in the SLC.

With the tournament coming up later this month, the Bearkats will have to be on guard against New Orleans, as well as both Texas A&M University Corpus Christi and defending champions University of Central Arkansas. A&M Corpus and New Orleans both did well in singles matches, having several players place in the top 10 singles leaders.

The SLC tournament will kick off Saturday, April 24 at the Beaumont Municipal Center in Beaumont, TX. The Bearkats will play in the third match of the day at 2 p.m., where they will face off against the number eight seed, Stephen F. Austin State University.

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