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SHSU tennis edges out first Southland Conference win

Contributing Reporter

Published: Monday, February 10, 2014

Updated: Monday, February 10, 2014 22:02

Maddie Mortimore

Alex Broussard | The Houstonian

Sophomore Maddie Mortimore has solidified herself as a key player to the Bearkats’ line-up, playing as the number two spot in the Bearkats’ first three spring games.

Sam Houston State women’s tennis team kicked off Southland Conference play with a strong outing against Oral Roberts, winning 5-2 Sunday.

Following Saturday’s 4-3 loss to Tyler Junior College, the Bearkats bounced back.

“It’s nice to get our first conference win,” head coach Jim Giachino said. “That’s the important part.”

SHSU started off slow as they lost the doubles portion of the match with Maddie Mortimore and Kayla Stevenson being the only Bearkat duo to win their doubles match. 

Playing in the number one spot, Olivia Battye and Natalie Petaia quickly fell behind 0-5 and lost 4-8. Isabella Costa and Karen Martinez got off to a good start in the number two spot before falling behind later in the match and losing 4-8.

Mortimore and Stevenson won the number three spot 8-2.

“We did not show up to play doubles and that’s really a challenge for us, as a team, that we have to fix,” Giachino said.

After losing the doubles portion of the match, the Bearkats needed to win at least four of the six singles matches in order to win the overall match. 

Playing in the number one spot, Battye won the first set 6-4 before losing the second set 3-6.  Battye bounced back to play a smart and aggressive third set that she won 6-4.

Mortimore played in the number two spot in a very entertaining match.  After jumping out to a 4-1 lead in the set, Mortimore allowed her opponent to get the set to a tiebreaker.  Down 0-3 in the tiebreaker, Mortimore changed her strategy and stormed back to win it 7-3.

“I actually became more aggressive rather than playing down to her game,” Mortimore said.  “That’s a progression from last year when my game was more defensive.  If I had stayed defensive, I would have lost the tiebreaker.  I just focused on one point at a time.”

Mortimore went on to win the match 7-6, 6-1.

Playing in the fourth spot, Petaia won her first set 6-1 before losing the second set 7-6.  In the third set, Petaia used her powerful forehand to combat her opponent’s consistent style of play.  Down 5-6, Petaia was able to force a tiebreaker, which she went on to lose 6-8 in heartbreaking fashion.

Martinez won the fifth spot 6-1, 6-2 behind her dominant play.

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