Sam Houston tennis had their season come to an abrupt halt on Saturday as they fell to Stephen F. Austin State University 4-2 at the Beaumont Municipal Tennis Center in the opening round of the Southland Conference Tournament.
The Bearkats had a season unlike any they have had before, winning their first-ever regular-season Southland Conference championship and going 15-4 overall and 10-1 in conference play. They headed to Beaumont, Texas for the conference tournament with the No. 1 seed.
While the regular season was historic, the Bearkats wanted more heading into the tournament. The Ladyjacks came ready to play looking for revenge after the Bearkats previously skirted by the Lumberjacks in regular-season play 4-3 in Nacogdoches.
The Lumberjacks took the point in two different 6-1 wins over Sam Houston’s duo groups of junior Roos Gerritsen and freshman Andrijana Brkic along with junior Karla De La Luz Montalvo and sophomore Petra Kaszas. The Bearkats would answer back in singles, with junior Sahaja Yamalapalli getting the win over the Ladyjacks 6-1, 6-0 to even things up at one. The win kept Yamalapalli perfect on the year with an 18-0 overall record and 11-0 in conference play.
SFA took the lead back with a singles win after Montalvo lost the first set of the match 6-2. The Ladyjacks added to their lead again another win over Brkic 6-2, 6-2. This made it 3-1 SFA.
Freshman Sunskrithi Damera put the Bearkats back within reach at 3-2, with a win in singles over SFA 6-1, 6-1. This did not prove to be enough as the Lumberjacks defeated freshman Sahithi Vutukuru 6-1, 6-4 to put an end to Sam Houston’s season.