First Serve of 2019 Southland Women’s Tennis Tournament Set for Thursday

first_imgCentral Arkansas is the No. 3 seed and is matched up with No. 6 McNeese, the reigning tournament champion, and No. 4 seed Sam Houston State is pitted with No. 5 A&M-Corpus Christi. Semifinals are slated for Friday at 2 p.m. with the championship scheduled for 2 p.m. Saturday. No. 1 Abilene Christian Wildcats (14-9, 10-1 SLC)Led by Southland Conference Coach of the Year John Walker, the Wildcats look to punch their ticket to the NCAA Tournament for the first time in program history. ACU tennis first became eligible for NCAA postseason events in 2018 after completing its transition to Division I. Allison Stewart and Illeana Mocciola each claimed first-team all-conference selections at the No. 5 and No. 6 flight, respectively. The duo combined to go 19-2 in league play, led by Stewart’s flawless 11-0 campaign. ACU’s lone loss of the league season came on the road against Central Arkansas in a 5-2 defeat. In the regular season, McNeese defeated Lamar 6-1. CORPUS CHRISTI, TEXAS – The 2019 Southland Conference Women’s Tennis Tournament begins Thursday at 10 a.m. CT. at the Thomas J. Henry Tennis Center in Corpus Christi, Texas, hosted by Texas A&M-Corpus Christi. No. 3 Central Arkansas (17-7, 9-2 SLC)Making their seventh-straight appearance in the conference tournament, the Bears have their eyes set on their first tournament title. After missing the first seven matches of the season, Freshman of the Year Chunxi Xin hit the courts running, finishing 8-3 in singles and 8-2 in doubles in league play with Marli Van Heerden. Xin was named to the all-conference singles second team and earned first-team honors for doubles. UCA closed the season on a three-match win streak, including handing Abilene Christian its first loss of the season. In the regular season, UCA defeated McNeese 6-1. No. 4 Sam Houston State (13-7, 7-4 SLC)Fueled by the play of Player of the Year Sahaja Yamalapalli, the Bearkats return to the Southland Conference Tennis Tournament for the third-straight time in as many years under head coach Rob Hubbard. Yamalapalli, who suffered just one loss in conference play (10-1), was joined on the first team by teammate Lusine Chobanyan. Isidora Zivkovic was a second-team selection at No. 2 singles, and the duo of Karla De La Luz Montalvo and Petra Kaszas were tabbed second team at No. 3 doubles. In the regular season, SHSU defeated A&M-Corpus Christi 4-3. Abilene Christian claimed its first-ever Southland Conference regular-season championship after posting a 10-1 record this spring and will face No. 8 seed Lamar in the first round. Northwestern State is the No. 2 seed and will take on No. 7 New Orleans. No. 7 New Orleans (13-9, 6-5 SLC)The Privateers enter their fifth-straight Southland Conference Tennis Tournament with a four-match win streak, the longest by any Southland school to finish the year.  New Orleans landed duo Ank Vullings and Trang Dao on the all-conference second team at No. 1 doubles after they went 14-4 overall and 8-3 in league play at the top line, including a 6-3 triumph over first-team pair Chunxi Xin and Marli Van Heerden. No. 5 Texas A&M-Corpus Christi (13-7, 6-5 SLC)Clinching a berth in its 11th-straight season, the Islanders are vying for a fifth trip to the NCAA Tournament in the last seven seasons. In her first season with the team, Kei Kato went 6-3 at No. 2 singles and posted a 7-3 mark at second-line doubles alongside partner Myu Kageyama to garner Newcomer of the Year laurels. The doubles duo was named all-conference second team and A&M-Corpus Christi placed two on the singles second team in Camille Townsend and Mariya Shumeika. The Islanders were 6-1 at home this spring, including a 2-1 mark in league action. No. 2 Northwestern State (17-5, 9-2 SLC)Head coach Patric DuBois leads his Lady Demons to their 12th-straight Southland Conference tournament appearance, the longest active streak, with hopes of capturing the program’s first tournament title since 2015. NSU is led by first-team all-league honoree Rhea Verma, one of just two student-athletes to go 11-0 in conference play (Stewart). The Lady Demons were also represented by second-team selections Ela Iwaniuk and Judit Castillo Gargallo, who garnered first-team doubles honors with partner Emilija Dancetovic. In the regular season, NSU defeated New Orleans 6-1. No. 8 Lamar (8-13, 5-6 SLC)After missing the conference tournament in 2018 for just the second time in the previous 14 years, the Cardinals make a triumphant return to the bracket in 2019. Lamar’s 4-2 record down the stretch, including a win over Sam Houston State played a vital role to their return to the postseason tournament. The Cardinals accounted for a pair of honorable mention all-conference selections as Sanja Jolic garnered the honor at No. 3 singles and the team of Jasmin Buchta and Amelie Vossgaetter were named honorable mention at No. 1 doubles. No. 6 McNeese (11-9, 6-5 SLC)Looking to defend its Southland Conference tournament crown, the Cowgirls make their seventh-consecutive appearance in the conference tournament. Charoline Erlandsson dominated at No. 2 singles with a 14-2 overall record and a 5-2 mark in league play. Dalia Ahmed impressed in her first year at McNeese, going 9-1 in conference and posting a 5-0 record at the No. 4 and 5 flights while only dropping one set. The Cowgirls’ had won four straight before falling to Abilene Christian 4-3 in the regular-season finale.last_img

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