Tennis heads to GAC as No. 2 seed

LAURA BEAN/The Arka Tech: Camila Roca is 15-6 in singles play and 4-1 with doubles partner Tamara Bell.
LAURA BEAN/The Arka Tech: Camila Roca is 15-6 in singles play and 4-1 with doubles partner Tamara Bell.

The Arkansas Tech women’s tennis team (17-3, 5-1 GAC) will head into the Great American Conference Tournament on Friday and Saturday in Bentonville as the No. 2 seed seeking a title and an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament.

Tech has a first round bye and will play the winner of No. 3 East Central and No.6 Henderson State on Friday at 3 p.m. If the Golden Suns win, they will play the winner of No. 1 Southeastern Oklahoma State and either No.4 Southern Nazarene or No. 5 Harding on Saturday at 2 p.m. for the title.

The Golden Suns most recent win came on Sunday in an 8-1 rout over Harding in Little Rock, which put SEOSU, East Central and Tech in a three-way tie for first place until a blind draw on Tuesday morning determined the team’s seeding in the GAC Tournament.

Head coach Abby Davis said her team has met its goals so far, but it’s not finished yet.

“Our goal at the beginning of every year is to win the regular season, make it into the conference tournament and win it and make the NCAA tournament,” Davis said. “We feel like once we make the NCAA tournament, anything after it is icing on the cake.”

Davis said expectations have been high, and the Golden Suns have risen to the occasion in all but one of its six crucial conference matches. A 5-4 loss to SEOSU (15-6 overall) in the season’s first conference matchup didn’t stop Tech from winning its last five matches.

Vandella Suico (16-4 overall) leads the Golden Suns in conference play this year with a 5-0 singles and doubles GAC record.

Tech’s No. 1 and No. 2 doubles teams — consisting of Olga Leyshyna and Bohdana Sardak and Tamara Bell and Camila Roca respectively — are both 4-1 in conference.

Overall, Leyshyna has the most wins for Tech this year with a 21-5 record. Sardak has gone 19-6, Roca is 15-6, Bell is 14-9 and Laura Sanchez is 13-8.

Currently, Tech is ranked No. 4 in the Central Region. Davis said seven teams from each region will qualify for the NCAA tournament after conference tournaments conclude.