Ladyjack tennis will compete against their rival Sam Houston State in the first round of the Southland Conference Women’s Tennis Tournament at 2 pm Friday from the Beaumont Municipal Tennis Center in Beaumont.
The winner of this match will play the winner of No. 4 Texas A&M - Corpus Christi and No. 5 Northwestern State at 2 pm Saturday.
SFA enters the tournament as the eighth seed after concluding the regular season with a 6-1 road win over McNeese State on April 11. They won the doubles point and went 5-1 in the singles competition. Freshman Paula Cerda received an honorable mention for Southland Player of the Week after winning 6-2 in her doubles match with senior Annie Walker and winning her singles match in three sets. Both Cerda and Walker received SLC second-team doubles honors.
SFA's win over the Cowgirls extended their winning streak to two games and finished the season with a 10-9 overall record and went 4-7 in SLC action. The Ladyjacks have won three of their last four matches.
The Bearkats enter the tournament as the No. 1 seed after going 15-3 overall with a 10-1 conference record and are on a two-game winning streak. Their win percentage is .833. They shared the regular season title with New Orleans, but SHSU earned the top seed since they defeated the Privateers earlier in the season. It was both program’s first time to win the regular season crown.
SFA last played Sam Houston State on April 3 in which the Ladyjacks lost 4-3. They were up 3-2 after grabbing wins in the third, fourth and fifth singles, but junior Karla De La Luz Montalvo tied it up in the No. 2 singles. Sam Houston State freshman Sunskrithi Damera defeated SFA sophomore Elena Bleicher 7-6, 7-6 and 7-4 in the No. 6 singles to win the match for the Bearkats.
In singles, junior Sahaja Yamalapalli led the Bearkats by going 17-0 overall and 11-0 in league action without losing a single set. She was named the 2021 Southland Conference Women’s Tennis Player of the Year and was named first team all-SLC. Redshirt senior Constandena went 12-1 overall and 7-1 in conference matches and was named second team all-SLC.
In doubles, the Bearkats’ top duo is De La Luz Montalvo and sophomore Petra Kaszas. The pair was named first team all-SLC in doubles after going 12-2 overall and 9-1 in the Southland.