The Bobcat tennis team is undergoing preparation for the Southland Conference Tournament starting Thursday in Nacogdoches, home of Stephen F. Austin.
Texas State will start team play against Sam Houston State at 11 a.m. The Bobcats beat SHSU 5-2 in a rain-suspended make-up match last Saturday.
SFA won the regular season conference championship. Texas State finished second its highest seed since 1989. SFA lost its last match of the season against Texas-Arlington, breaking up its perfect conference mark.
Texas State finished with a 9-2 SLC record, dropping matches against Texas A&M-Corpus Christi and to the No. 1-seeded Lumberjacks. Texas State hopes to improve even more going into the weekend.
“We are working hard at everything we are doing,” said Jessica Kahts, sophomore. “We are looking forward to the tournament. We always support each other and motivate each other. We have a lot of motivation to do well in the tournament.”
After winning nine matches in a row, dating back to early February and ending in late March, Texas State composed a 5-4 match record to conclude the regular season. It included a 5-2 SLC record during that time.
Texas State enters the tournament with perhaps the best-performing individual player. Last week, Kahts garnered the SLC Women’s Tennis Player of the Week for the second time this season. She is the first player in the last nine seasons from Texas State to be awarded the honor.
“I am very excited about (the recognition). It was one of my goals,” Kahts said. “It makes me very happy.”
Kahts won her No. 1 match in straight sets 6-1, 6-1 and teamed up with Melissa Hadad to win the No. 1 doubles match 8-4.
Coach Tory Plunkett said that Kahts’s awards “tells you something about her character.”
“For her to go out and be player of the week two times in one semester is big for her as well as the program,” Plunkett said. “She also has the tennis program in mind.”
Kahts has been a factor for the Bobcats all season long and guided the team to a 14-5 overall mark. The South Africa native is 15-4 on the season, all coming in the No. 1 matchups. When teamed with Hadad, the pair is 13-5.
Gaining the doubles point has to be a key component throughout the tournament for the Bobcats. Rachel Baldree and Mariana Perez have won seven doubles matches in a row and are 15-1 together.
“Coming into the season, the team wanted to do better than any other team that has come through here,” Plunkett said. “They have definitely accomplished that and are becoming experienced players. Our tennis program knows there are a lot more accomplishments to be made but it’s definitely a start for us.”
The winning teams from Thursday’s four matches will meet in the semi-finals Friday. The two winners from the second round will meet in the Southland Conference Championship Saturday at 2 p.m.