February 11, 2014

SMU, UTA Next Up for Women’s Tennis

CORPUS CHRISTI – The Texas A&M – Corpus Christi women's tennis team will embark on a five-match road swing starting Wednesday in Dallas against Southern Methodist University. The Islanders (3-1) are on a two-match winning streak after cruising to a 6-0 victory on Monday at home against Texas-Pan American.

"These girls are on a journey and this is another step in our journey," Director of Tennis Steve Moore said. "It's another chance to stick together, grow as a family, a team, and to keep getting tougher and smarter. I love the character of this team and these road trips unify us and make us even closer. We just have to keep getting better and better each week, so that we are playing our best at the end of the season."

Moore, a former women's tennis coach at SMU led the Mustangs to a second-place finish in the WAC conference. He also helped the team advance to the finals of the WAC conference tournament and to the most wins in 14 years in 2001. Prior to becoming the women's coach, Moore was also an assistant on the men's tennis when they reached the NCAA Final Four.

"I have the fondest memories of SMU and working for the legendary Jim Copeland, one of the greatest men I have ever known," Moore said. "I have the highest respect for their program and always will. Coach Gyulai is doing a great job there and has built a very strong, young team. We will have to play an incredibly tough and focused match on Wednesday."  

The Islanders come into Wednesday's match on a two-matching winning streak after cruising to a 6-0 victory against UTPA and a 5-0 victory over Prairie View A&M. The Islanders also picked up a win against UMBC in the home opener. The only loss of the season came on the road against Southern Miss. The Islanders dropped a heartbreaking 4-3 loss to the Golden Eagles.

Freshmen Kerry Galhos and Judit Vives along with sophomore Celia Rodriguez remain undefeated in singles play. Galhos holds a 3-0 mark in singles play in the No. 5 position and is 1-1 with senior Stefania Nicolae in No. 1 doubles. Vives has also posted a 3-0 record in singles in the No. 6 spot and is 1-0 with senior Sandra Burges in No. 2 doubles. After recording a remarkable 14-1 record last season in singles, Rodriguez is out to a 4-0 start in the No. 4 spot in singles.

SMU (1-3) is ranked No. 64 in the ITA rankings and are on a three-match losing streak after falling to LSU, Texas Tech and Southland member Northwestern State. Prior to that, the Mustangs clinched their season opener 6-1 over Stephen F. Austin. Sophomore Vaszillisza Bulgakova is ranked No. 18 in the Texas Region in singles play.

The last time the Islanders and Mustangs met up was on Feb. 2 in 2009 at SMU. The Islanders fell 4-0. 

Following Wednesday's match, A&M - Corpus Christi will turn right around and play at UT Arlington on Thursday, Feb. 13.  The Mavericks (3-2) are coming off a 4-3 loss to McNeese State on Sunday. Prior to that, UTA won three straight at home against Midwestern State, Dallas Baptist, Stephen F. Austin. UTA dropped a 5-2 loss to TCU in its home opener.

"UT Arlington almost still feels like a conference rival from all the great years they had in the Southland," Moore said. "They were the top women's team in the Southland over the last 10 years, so we know that we will be playing a team that has a tradition of winning excellence. Our girls are tough and motivated, and getting better every week. I feel like if we play every point with intensity, smart and tough, we can play with anybody."

The last time the Islanders faced UTA was on April 1, 2012, at the Thomas J. Henry Tennis Center. The Mavericks knocked off the Islanders 5-2. Burges and Chelsea Horan picked up singles victories in the loss and the two teamed up in doubles play to win 9-8 (15-13).    

After Thursday's match, the Islanders will return to action along with the men's team at Louisiana-Lafayette on Tuesday, Feb. 18. The men's team will next be in action on Sunday, Feb. 16, in Dallas against conference opponent Oral Roberts.

For all the latest on Islanders Tennis, like the team on Facebook (IslandersTennis) and follow them on Twitter and Instagram (@IslandersTennis).