NACOGDOCHES, Texas – Head coach Patrick Sullivan's short tenure with the Stephen F. Austin women's tennis program has been marked by a long line of program firsts. Tuesday was yet another first for SFA as it achieved its highest team ranking in program history, 59th according to latest ITAtennis.com poll, which was released Tuesday afternoon.
"It is nice to be recognized for our strong start, but we try not to get too caught up in the numbers," said Sullivan. "We have four tough matches this weekend, so right now is the time to really get focused and make the most of our opportunities. If we keep taking care of business, we will have time to celebrate accolades when the season is over. We have a really great group of kids on this team and I love coaching them. They have set some high goals for themselves and it's rewarding to see that we are on pace to achieve some of them but at the same time it's a long race and most of it is still ahead of us."
Last season SFA cracked the Intercollegiate Tennis Association's (ITA) Top-75 poll for the first time in program history debuting at No. 71 but were unable to move up in the polls. The 'Jack have recorded several quality wins this season which include victories over Louisville, Colorado and a shutout of No. 40 North Texas. In addition to the wins, the team's only two losses have been tight matches against No. 38 Illinois and No. 12 Baylor.
The doubles team of senior Alina Shazhko and sophomore Jithmie Jayawickrema remain ranked but fell from their top-20 perch. The duo dropped to No. 59 overall despite its nearly perfect 7-1 record.
The 'Jacks will be put to the test in their match when they travel to New Orleans, La., to face Tulane. The Green Wave enter the week ranked one notch ahead of SFA. The match against Tulane will kick off a busy weekend for the 'Jacks who will play four matches in a three-day time span.