Women’s Tennis Set for Season Opener Versus Louisiana Tech, Southeastern Louisiana
BATON ROUGE, La. – The LSU women’s tennis team kicks off the 2024 dual season as they host in-state foes Louisiana Tech and Southeastern Louisiana on Saturday, January 20, inside the LSU Tennis Complex. The Tigers will face the Louisiana Tech Bulldogs at 10 a.m. CT and conclude the day by facing Southeastern Louisiana at 4 p.m. CT.
Attendance to all LSU matches at the LSU Tennis Complex is free of charge. Attendees will be required to comply with the clear-bag policy held by the university.
The Tigers and Bulldogs have only met in dual matches eight times, with LSU claiming victory in all eight. It will be the first time since 2006 the two teams will meet in dual play, with LSU claiming a 7-0 win back then in Baton Rouge.
LSU and Southeastern Louisiana will face off for the eighth time in series history later that afternoon, with LSU holding a 7-0 lead in the history. The teams last faced off in 2018, with LSU claiming a 5-1 win inside the LSU Tennis Complex.
The 2024 LSU women’s tennis team features 11 athletes, nine of which are newcomers to Baton Rouge, on a roster that boasts a balance of experience and youth. Kylie Collins, a senior in her second year as a Tiger, and Caroline Arnold, a sophomore, are the two returners to the squad.
Graduate students Maya Tahan, a former four-year starter at the University of Miami, and Aran Teixidó Garcia, a former four-year starter at the University of Memphis, bring experience to the squad as upperclassmen. Juniors Florentine Dekkers, a player who played at the top courts for two seasons at Kansas State, Gaby Rivera, who spent the 2023 season in Miami alongside Tahan, and Anita Sahdiieva, a two-year starter at Baylor, join the fold with experience at the college level and will look to take their games to the next level. Four freshmen round out the squad, with Kinaa Graham, Emma Grant and Carina Holguin entering their first dual seasons after spending the fall with the team while Kenna Erickson joined up with the team only earlier this month.
Of the 11 players, six hail from the United States while five come from abroad. Erickson, Graham and Holguin come from the state of Texas, Arnold and Grant from Metairie and Gretna, Louisiana respectively, and Collins coming the way from Savannah, Georgia. Internationally, four of the five players come from Europe. Dekkers comes from the Netherlands, Sahdiieva from Ukraine, Tahan from Israel and Garcia from Spain. Rivera, the remaining international, hails from Guatemala.
Kinaa Graham, a freshman from Austin, Texas, was a blue-chip recruit and the state’s top prospect for the Class of 2023. She hit the ground running to get her collegiate career started in the fall portion of the season. She led the Tigers with a 12-5 singles record over four ITA tournaments of play. Graham went 2-1 at the River Oaks Invitational in Houston before going 5-1 at the ITA All-American Championships, only narrowly falling in the final qualifying match, and posting the same record at the ITA Southern Regional only days later, finishing as the singles runner-up. She concluded her fall season by traveling to the ITA National Fall Championships, dropping two matches in singles against some of the nation’s best.
In addition to her success in singles, Graham also finished the ITA Southern Regional as a runner-up in doubles alongside Anita Sahdiieva. The duo won four matches to reach the final and were defeated in three sets by Mississippi State’s Alexandra Mikhailuk and Athina Pitta, 1-6, 7-5, 10-5.
Outside of ITA tournaments, multiple Tigers had success in the fall competing in different professional tournaments. Sahdiieva claimed her second ITF doubles title in 2023 in October as her and partner Connie Chieh-Yu Hsu were crowned champions at the ITF Jackson 15K.
In singles, Florentine Dekkers ended her fall by claiming the singles title in the UTR professional tournament held at the LSU Tennis Complex in early December. Dekkers bested multiple foes, including teammates Aran Teixidó Garcia and Graham, along the way.
The Tigers have one player ranked by the ITA in their singles rankings. Graham checked in at No. 56 in the latest singles rankings after her 12-5 record in ITA tournaments in the fall.
For more information on the LSU women’s tennis program follow the Tigers on Twitter @lsuwten , on Instagram @LSUWTen , and on www.Facebook.com/lsuwten.