Southland Conference play begins for the Sam Houston State University tennis program tomorrow in Huntsville against the Stephen F. Austin Ladyjacks.
The Bearkats currently stand 3-6 after opening the season against some of the best competitors in the league, and head coach Ron Hubbard feels the conference schedule will not be any easier.
“This is a tough conference to be in,” Hubbard said. “A lot of teams in this conference are close together in the ratings and there will be a lot of tough matches… We’ll just have to believe in ourselves and see what happens.
SHSU will be going against numerous SLC powerhouses such as 5-1 Texas A&M Corpus Christi and 6-3 Abilene Christian. Last season, TAMCC went undefeated in the conference (11-0) and had a nearly perfect overall record of 24-1. Their only loss was against No.1 Stanford at the NCAA Championships.
ACU went 9-2 in the SLC last season and is currently on a four game winning streak. Of those four wins, three of them have been 7-0 sweeps against Hardin-Simmons, Southern Nazarene and Texas- Permian Basin.
“Now we are going to have to get into the mental side of things,” Hubbard said. “If we believe in ourselves and get it done, then good things will happen.”
The Bearkats had been on a six game losing streak until last Saturday when they defeated the University of Texas at Rio Grande Valley in Edinburg 5-2. SHSU earned an early lead after capturing the doubles points. The Bearkats then went on to win four of the six singles matches in straight sets.
“Our goal of that game was to get our third doubles point of the season, which we did,” Hubbard said. “Now that we have a doubles system in place, the women’s team has been great at working and believing in it to make things happen.”
Tomorrows match will be the first home game for the Bearkats since their 7-0 win against Dallas Baptist University on Jan. 21. Since then, the team has been on the road for the last six matches.
“It’s fun to travel but its also nice to be back home,” Hubbard said. “We’ve been able to play at some really nice places but I’ll be a little bit easier for us now that we are home.”
The Bearkats will begin conference play tomorrow against the SFA Ladyjacks at the McAdams Tennis center in Huntsville at 2:30 p.m.