It’s not often that you get to watch history being made. This week at the McAdams Tennis courts, the Bearkat tennis team will be playing for its place in the SHSU record books. Having already clinched a berth in the conference tournament later this month, seven young ladies play for seeding position and more in their final two regular season matches this week.
Already, Coach Jim Giachino’s team has caught the attention of their conference foes. The leader of this team is Irina Sotnikova, who has won 2 Player of the Week awards this season, has a season record of 25-1, and in her career has already won more matches than any player in SHSU history, and is currently ranked nationally in the top 125 of Division 1 tennis players. In over 20 years of watching SHSU tennis, Irina is the best Bearkat tennis player I have seen.
She and doubles partner Peta Taylor are also the top doubles team going into conference with a 25-2 record this year. Taylor plays at the number 3 position and loves to pound the ball, no matter if she’s at net or on the baseline. Playing at number 2 for the Bearkats is freshman Giorgia Pozzan. Giorgia plays an athletic, all-court game that is exciting to watch, making shots that are hard to believe.
Patti Manzur, another senior, is playing the best tennis of her career and peaking at the right time. Small of frame, Patti brings amazing pace on her shots, much to the dismay of her opponents and the delight of Kats fans. The team is rounded out by Eleonora Kuruc, Lilit Mastirosyan, and Stasa Vujosevic, each of whom have won important points for the Kats in their present 4-match winning streak. . These seven ladies represent Sam Houston with enthusiasm, determination, class, and skill. They are examples of the best of college athletics-true student-athletes.
Two matches this week are the final chance to see the four seniors on the squad-Sotnikova, Taylor, Mansur, and Kuruc. Don’t miss this chance to cheer this terrific group of seniors as they lead the team in their fight for a shot at the NCAA tennis championships. Thursday’s match against conference leader Northwestern State is at 10 a.m., and Saturday’s match vs. Southeastern Louisiana is at noon.