CORPUS CHRISTI – The Texas A&M - Corpus Christi women's tennis team will open Southland Conference play this weekend on the road.
Due to rain in the forecast, Saturday's match in Nacogdoches, Texas, at the Schlief Tennis Complex has been moved up to 9:30 a.m.
The Islanders will then travel to Natchitoches, La. on Sunday, March 16, to face the Lady Demons at 11 a.m. at the Jack Fisher Lady Demon Complex.
"Our focus now becomes totally on this conference, which is the strongest it's ever been in my opinion," Director of Tennis Steve Moore said.
The Islanders (6-3) are coming off a tough 4-0 loss on Wednesday against a good UTSA team. The Roadrunners secured the doubles point with wins on courts one and three before winning three straight singles matches on courts two, three and four to clinch the match.
This season, sophomore Celia Rodriguez has been a consistent leader for the Islanders team with a solid 7-2 singles record, including a 5-0 mark in the No. 4 slot. Freshman Judit Vives has also had an impressive first season with the Islanders with a perfect 6-0 record in the No. 6 spot. In doubles, Vives holds a 5-0 record in the No. 2 slot with senior Sandra Burges. Freshman Kerry Galhos has compiled a 4-2 mark in No. 5 singles after starting the season 4-0.
Last season, A&M - Corpus Christi put together an outstanding season in Southland Conference play. The women's team advanced to the finals of the Southland Conference Tournament, while placing second in the conference during the regular season.
Stephen F. Austin enters Saturday's match with a 6-5 record, including a 2-0 mark in Southland Conference play. The Ladyjacks have wins over Tyler JC, St. Edward's, New Mexico State, Oral Roberts, Central Arkansas and Cleveland State while dropping losses to SMU, UT Arlington, Mississippi Sate, Texas State and Louisiana-Lafayette.
Last season, the Islanders suffered their first loss of the season, 4-3, to SFA on the road. A&M - Corpus Christi captured the doubles point before falling on courts one, two, five and six. Returners Maider Martin and Stefania Nicolae clinched their singles matches.
Northwestern State is set to face Incarnate Word in conference action on Saturday before hosting the Islanders on Sunday. The Lady Demons come into Saturday's match with a 9-3 record, including a 2-0 record in conference play. NSU has wins over SMU, Southern Mississippi, Louisiana-Lafayette, UTSA, Prairie View A&M, Texas State, Oral Roberts, Central Arkansas and Arkansas Tech. NSU has come up short against Alabama-Birmingham, Auburn and LSU.
Last season, the Islanders fell to the Lady Demons in the finals of the Southland Conference Tournament, 4-1. Prior to that, the Islanders edged NSU 4-3 in Natchitoches, La. The Islanders picked up the doubles point and Nicolae, Rodriguez and Chelsea Horan all picked up singles wins.
Following Sunday's match, the Islanders will return to action on Thursday, March 20, when they host Southeastern La. at the Thomas J. Henry Tennis Center. Doubles play is slated to start at 6 p.m. The men's team will head to Houston to take on Rice on March 21 and Tulane on March 22.
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