STEPHENVILLE – Although the score was as close as it could possibly be, there wasn’t much to worry about for Tarleton Saturday, with the match clinched early. Plus, this team has proved to be unstoppable, so doubting them in any fashion seems silly.
The Texans (16-4, 3-0 WAC) defeated Sam Houston (7-9, 1-2 WAC) 4-3 on Saturday at the Potishman-Lard Tennis Courts in Stephenville on Saturday afternoon in front of a great crowd. Fans made for an electric environment and clearly rattled the opposing Bearkats, who seemed uncomfortable and placed much of their focus on the crowd instead of on tennis.
This was Tarleton’s fifth straight win, their ninth over the past 10 matches, and their 15th over the past 17. At 16 wins on the year, the Texans have their most wins in a season since 2005-06, when the purple and white went 25-4 at the NCAA Division II level. Tarleton is now 14-4 against NCAA Division I opponents this year, and boasts a perfect record against fellow Western Athletic Conference opponents of 7-0.
Tarleton opened the match by winning their eight straight doubles point. Deniza Marcinkevica and Martha Makantasi made quick work of Andjela Vidovic and Sunskrithi Damera in the top flight, 6-1. Sam Houston countered in the No. 2 position with Petra Kaszas and Megan Basson defeating Elsa Boisson and Jemi Aguilar 6-4. The Texan duo of Celia Vaudiau and Faustine Palatte clinched the day’s first point with their 6-3 win at the No. 3 position over Sahithi Vutukuru and Lusine Chobanyan.
Marcinkevica and Makantasi are now 6-1 as a pair at the No. 1 position. Vaudiau and Palatte won their fifth straight match to improve to 8-3.
In singles, Makantasi made it 2-0 Tarleton with her 6-2, 6-2 win over Vutukuru at the No. 3 position. This was the sophomore’s third straight win to improve to 15-4 on the year.
Tarleton then made it 3-0 thanks to Aguilar’s 6-1, 7-5 win at No. 2 against Vidovic. The Texan senior snapped a five-match losing streak, now 7-9 this season.
Vaudiau then clinched the match for the Texans, putting Tarleton ahead 4-0, with her 7-6 [7-5], 6-3 win over Kaszas at No. 5. Vaudiau, a junior, has now won 18 straight singles matches and holds an 18-1 overall record.
With the team match in hand, the next three singles matches were moot, with all three going to the Bearkats. Basson defeated Marcinkevica 6-3, 3-6, 6-1 at No. 1, Chobanyan beat Boisson 4-6, 6-4, 6-1 at No. 4, and Damera took down Anna Davidson 6-2, 6-4 at No. 6.
Tarleton still holds a 1.0-match advantage in the WAC Southwest Division standings over Stephen F. Austin and UTRGV. The Texans and Vaqueros square off on Sunday at 12 p.m. CT at the Potishman-Lard Tennis Courts, marking Tarleton’s last home match of the year and their Senior Day.