With a young squad of four freshmen, three sophomores and only one senior, the Sam Houston women's tennis team begins its 2011 dual match schedule Friday at 1 p.m. with a non-conference home match with Prairie View A&M at 1 p.m. at the McAdams Tennis Center.

The Bearkats posted impressive performances in five intercollegiate tournaments in the fall, giving the squad as strong foundation as the team seeks to improve on its fifth place Southland Conference finish in 2010

"Everyone is looking forward to getting the season started," Sam Houston head coach Jim Giachino said. "The girls had good results against quality competition during our fall tournaments."

Returning letter winners from last year's Sam Houston squad that went 7-4 in Southland Conference dual match include sophomores Tatyana Posnikova, Nadia Dubyanskaya and Sheridan Currie and senior Cally Woerner.

Newcomers include Anrinette Botha, Imke Jagau, Natalie Petaia and Kayla Stevenson.

The Bearkat roster reads like a United Nations. Dubyanskaya and Posnikova are from Russia, Currie, Petala and Stevenson from Australia, Botha from South Africa, Jajau from Nambia and Woerner from Texas.

During fall action several of the Bearkats compiled strong singles records including Botha who went 13-4, Dudyanskaya 11-6, Jagau 10-7, Currie 9-5, Stevenson 9-6 and Petaia 8-6.

"This group is such a pleasure to work with and they're really excited to be heading to their first match," Giachino said. "There is much to look forward to this year. Our goals are to enjoy the process, push ourselves and improve each day."

Giachino looks for strong doubles play as well. Each of the Bearkats' doubles pairings produce winning records in fall tournament play with Dubyanskaya and Postnikova combining for a 12-5 record, Jagau and Petaia and Currie and Woerner both going 9-5 and Botha and Stevenson combining for a 5-4 mark.

Following Friday's match with Prairie View, the Bearkats will play host to Abilene Christian in a 1 p.m. dual match Tuesday, Feb. 1.