CORPUS CHRISTI – The Texas A&M - Corpus Christi women's tennis team will host their final regular-season match Monday, April 21, at 1 p.m. against New Orleans at the Thomas J. Henry Tennis Center. It will mark the final regular-season home matches for seniors Sandra Burges, Stefania Nicolae, Ashley Garza and Cassie Shaw. The Islanders (18-5, 10-1 SLC) are just one win away from clinching their first ever Southland Conference regular-season title.
Monday's match is sponsored by Kevin and Camille Gossett and Corpus Christi CrossFit.
"We're very thankful for Kevin and Camille Gossett and Corpus Christi CrossFit for their support of our women's senior day," Director of Tennis Steve Moore said. "The Gossett Family has been longtime supporters of Islanders Tennis and it means the world to our teams for their support on a day that honors these four great seniors.
"Monday will truly be a special day for the two winningest players in Islanders women's tennis history, Sandra Burges and Stefania Nicolae as well as the two best teammates and student-athletes, Cassie Shaw and Ashley Garza, who carried a 4.0 and 3.9 GPA, respectively, through four years at Texas A&M - Corpus Christi. I can't express my gratitude to the Gossett Family enough for making this senior day special for these girls."
The Islanders earned their 10th consecutive Southland Conference victory on Saturday with a 5-2 win over Incarnate Word to conclude regular-season road play. With the win, the Islanders set a new program record of 18 wins and have now clinched 12 of their last 13 matches.
A&M - Corpus Christi has been dominant in singles play this season, behind the strong play of sophomore Celia Rodriguez and freshman Judit Vives. Rodriguez clinched the third consecutive match for the Islanders in the No. 4 slot over UIW. She notched her 11th straight singles victory and has now tallied a 15-0 record in No. 4 singles. Rodriguez also holds an overall 18-3 mark, including a 9-1 record in Southland action.
Vives has had an outstanding first year in singles play. Like Rodriguez, she posted her 11th consecutive singles victory against the Cardinals. The freshman now holds a 17-1 singles record and a 10-1 mark in the conference. She has also registered a 5-0 mark at No. 2 singles.
Maider Martin, Kerry Galhos and Burges are all on a three-match winning streak in singles play. Martin holds a 5-1 mark at No. 3 singles, while Galhos has tallied a 13-3 mark in singles action and a 9-1 record in the Southland.
Burges and Nicolae, who are the Islanders captains, have both achieved above a 3.0 GPA, while making a name for themselves all four years on the Islanders team. They both have recorded over 50 singles wins, to become the top two winningest players in women's tennis history. Burges is the all-time singles leader with a career mark of 58-21 and a 31-11 mark in Southland action. This season, the Zaragoza, Spain native has compiled a 17-5 overall mark, including a 10-1 mark in conference play.
Nicolae has been just as impressive with a career record of 53-23 and a 27-14 mark in the Southland. Prior to this season, the Pitesti, Romania native only dropped 11 losses in her first three years and tallied over 10 wins in each of her first three years.
Garza will leave with a 3.9 GPA, and teamed with Nicolae to win the doubles point in the Southland Conference Tournament in 2012. The duo helped the Islanders win their first ever match in the Southland Conference Tournament over Northwestern State, 4-3. Garza and Nicolae were undefeated in conference matches in doubles to finish the 2012 season.
Shaw will leave with a perfect 4.0 GPA and has been a key reserve for the Islanders. She has been one of the most spirited and vocal teammates the team has ever had.
"These four seniors are as high character a group as we have ever had," Moore said. "They represent every facet of what a student-athlete should be about, from the courts, to the classroom, to putting their whole heart into the team. These girls' tenacity and character are a large reason the Islanders currently sit in first place in the Southland Conference standings out of 13 teams."
The Islanders will face the Privateers (6-11, 3-8 SLC) who will enter Monday's match on a six-match losing streak. UNO has conference victories over Incarnate Word, Oral Roberts and Sam Houston State. Anna Segarra Rius leads the Privateers in singles play with a 10-2 mark, while Soledad Calderon has registered an 11-4 record in singles action. In doubles play, Calderon and Marta Sans have teamed up for a 7-3 record, including a 6-2 mark in the Southland.
Following Monday's match, the men's and women's tennis teams will compete in the Southland Conference Tournament, hosted by the Islanders at the Thomas J. Henry Tennis Center, April 25-27.
For all the latest on Islanders Tennis, like the team on Facebook (IslandersTennis) and follow them on Twitter and Instagram (@IslandersTennis).