Women's tennis locks up first-ever conference title

SAN MARCOS, Texas – What was billed as showdown between two conference heavyweights with a conference title on the line, quickly turned into a blowout. The 41st-ranked Stephen F. Austin women's tennis team made quick work of Texas State, 7-0, Saturday in San Marcos. The win was SFA's 20th of the season, locked up the Southland Conference title, and guaranteed SFA the No. 1 overall seed in the conference tournament.
"Texas Stat is a proud, and well coached, so to win this convincingly shows how focused we were," said head coach Patrick Sullivan. "I'm proud of this team, and we are excited to be conference champions, but the season isn't over. We still have several goals left to accomplish. We'll enjoy the win tonight and start getting ready for the regular-season finale tomorrow morning."
The shutout victory gave SFA its second-straight 20-win season, but more importantly it was the first Southland Conference title for women's tennis in program history. SFA used the same blueprint Friday that it has used all season, take the doubles point, and rely on its depth in singles play.
The two schools split the first two doubles matches, but SFA secured the doubles point when junior Jithmie Jayawickrema and senior Alina Shazhko posted an 8-6 win at No. 2 doubles. Freshman Tereza Bekerova followed suit with a 6-4, 6-1 decision over Texas State's Rachel Baldree at No. 3 singles. Bekerova's win was one of five consecutive straight-set wins for the 'Jacks in singles play. Shazhko was the only player who was pushed to a third set before picking up the win.
SFA will look to put the wraps on a perfect season, and set a new program-record for wins, when it travels to Arlington, Texas, Sunday to face the Lady Mavs. The match against UTA is slated to begin at 11 a.m.