Women's Tennis | Thomas J. Henry Tennis Center | Corpus Christi, Texas
Saturday, April 5 • Sam Houston State • 12 p.m. • Match Sponsor: Scott Humpal and Humpal Physical Therapy
Sunday, April 6 • Lamar • 3:45 p.m. • Match Sponsor: Utility Trailer Sales Southeast Texas, Inc.
CORPUS CHRISTI – The Texas A&M - Corpus Christi women's tennis team will host a pair of pivotal Southland Conference matches this weekend against Southland rivals Sam Houston State and Lamar. The Islanders (12-4, 5-1 SLC), who are on a six-match winning streak, will first take on Sam Houston State on Saturday at 12 p.m. at the Thomas J. Henry Tennis Center. The match is sponsored by longtime supporter Scott Humpal and Humpal Physical Therapy.
"We are very grateful to Scott Humpal and Humpal Physical Therapy for their constant support of Islanders Tennis over the past eight years in numerous ways," Director of Tennis Steve Moore said. "Scott has been a true friend of Islanders Tennis and his generosity has helped our teams tremendously over the years. Scott constantly reaches out to help our team both personally and professionally and his support over the years has enabled us to do the things necessary to run a nationally ranked program."
The Islanders are coming off a 6-1 dominating performance over Prairie View A&M on Thursday at home. The Islanders came out strong to secure five straight singles matches before sweeping doubles play to win, 6-1.
Freshman Judit Vives had another impressive performance at No. 3 singles, winning 6-0, 6-0 to clinch her sixth consecutive singles victory of the season and improve her record to 12-1 in singles play. The Barcelona, Spain native is a perfect 5-0 in the No. 3 slot. Sophomore Celia Rodriguez also notched her sixth straight singles victory to improve to 13-3 in singles action and 10-0 in No. 4 singles.
Kerry Galhos, who sat out of Thursday's match against the Panthers, has also had a solid year. The freshman has collected a 10-2 singles record this year and is on a six-match winning streak in the No. 6 slot, with all six of her wins coming against conference opponents.
Senior Sandra Burges holds a 5-1 record in Southland play and an 11-4 overall record in singles action. She has tallied a 6-1 record at No. 5 singles, with her only loss coming against Nicholls. Fellow senior Stefania Nicolae cruised to a straight-set victory on Thursday in No. 1 singles to win her second straight singles match.
In doubles play, the tandem of Maider Martin and Rodriguez are on a five-match winning streak and hold a team-best 10-4 record. The duo picked up their 10th victory of the season on Thursday with an 8-4 win in No. 2 doubles over the Panthers. In Southland play, Martin and Rodriguez have teamed up for a 5-1 record, with their only loss coming at Stephen F. Austin.
Last year the women's team met Sam Houston State in the semifinals of the Southland Conference Tournament, winning a thrilling and hard fought 4-2 battle to advance to the finals of the Southland Conference Tournament. Returners Martin, Nicolae, Burges and Rodriguez all clinched their singles matches to lead the Islanders to victory. Prior to that, the Islanders battled the Bearkats in Huntsville in a 4-3 thrilling victory. The Islanders picked up the doubles point and Burges and Rodriguez each earned singles wins.
The Bearkats (3-7, 1-4 SLC) have struggled with injuries this season. After starting the season 3-0, Sam Houston State has dropped their last seven matches. Their lone conference win of the season came against Oral Roberts at home, 5-2. Karen Martinez leads the team with a 5-4 singles record, including a 3-2 mark in conference play. The duo of Maddie Mortimore and Kayla Stevenson are a perfect 2-0 in doubles play.
Following Saturday's match, the Islanders will remain at home to host Lamar on Sunday at 3:15 p.m. at the Thomas J. Henry Tennis Center. The match is sponsored by Utility Trailer Sales Southeast Texas, Inc.
"This is the company owned by the family of one of the most special Islanders ever: former team captain and assistant coach Megan Harless," Moore said. "Megan's family has been so amazingly generous and supportive of Islanders Tennis over the years with housing the team, and providing wonderful home cooked meals on the road, and always at the matches, and encouraging and supporting.
"Utility Trailer Sales Southeast Texas, Inc. also hired a new superstar employee former Islanders legend and team captain and No. 1 player Doris Kuselj as the new director of accounting. Doris and Megan, who started the Islanders acronym TPW (tough players win), now constantly motivate their co-workers with the chant of TAW (tough accounts win). It means the world to have former captains call us and reach out the way Megan and her family have. We always say this team is a family for life and every year I coach I believe this more and more. Thanks to the loyalty and generosity of our former players."
Lamar (4-10, 1-4 SLC) will first take on Incarnate Word on Saturday before traveling to the Coastal Bend. The Cardinals are on a three-match losing streak after falling to UTSA, Central Arkansas and UAB. The team earned their first Southland win of the season against New Orleans, 4-3. Katya Lapayeva leads the Cardinals with a 9-5 record in singles play and holds a 3-2 record in conference play.
Last season, the Islanders hosted the Cardinals at the Thomas J. Henry Tennis Center, and earned a momentous 4-3 victory. Nicolae clinched the match for the Islanders in No. 3 singles with a 9-7 second-set tiebreaker win. The Islanders swept doubles play, while Martin and Burges also picked up singles wins.
"These are two teams we have tremendous respect for and have developed strong, but respective rivalries over the years," Moore added.
Following Sunday's match, the Islanders will head to Edinburg, Texas, on Wednesday, April 9, to face Texas-Pan American for the second time this season. The match was originally scheduled for February 26, but inclement weather forced the teams to postpone.
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