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Tennis team overcomes stormy weather in season opening tournament

Tennis team overcomes stormy weather in season opening tournament

Tennis team overcomes stormy weather in season opening tournament
September 23
13:24 2015

Torie Mosley | Staff Writer

@toriemosley

A second-day rain delay paused the Mean Green’s play in the Midland tournament this past weekend, but it did not stop North Texas from having a good outing to start the 2015 season.

The Mean Green had two freshmen make the doubles semifinals and had both opponents representing North Texas in the singles finals in Midland.

Senior Kamilla Galieva beat freshman teammate Laura Arciniegas 7-6 (5), 6-2 in straight sets to win the go-ahead singles event for the Mean Green. Arciniegas said playing against a familiar opponent in the final made it a lot harder.

“It was difficult because I know how she plays and she knows me too,” Arciniegas said. “It gets emotional because you know it’s your teammate and you just always want to see them do well.”

The freshman admitted competing against a veteran player made the match a bit harder also.

“[Galieva] has more control because she has more experience,” she said.

Freshmen Tamuna Kutubidze and Maria Kononova were the only North Texas doubles team that advanced to Saturday’s quarterfinal round after defeating Sarah Dvorah and Katelyn Jackson of Texas Tech Friday in a heated back-and-forth match.

The tag team then beat Abilene Christian’s Kaysie Hermsdorf and Erin Walker by a 6-4 score in the second-day quarterfinal before having to stop the semifinal match with Astrid Gehre and Angeles de los Rios of the University of Texas at Arlington because of a rain storm.

Kutubidze and Kononova would fall 6-4 to UTA the following Sunday morning after the storm passed. Kononova said falling behind early before Saturday’s rain delay played a key role in the loss.

“We started the match out bad,” Kononova said. “We were down 2-5 before the delay and couldn’t come back to win the next day.”

Head coach Sujay Lama said he feels very pleased to see the team, especially the new freshmen, do well in its first tournament to start the season.

“The freshmen really held their own and were poised, which is difficult to be as a young player,” Lama said. “They are that good without a real proper knowledge of how to play the game. You can imagine what they can be once they develop the proper strategy.”

Lama said the Mean Green are starting to reap the benefits of the hard work the staff puts into recruiting players to the team. The coaches check out rankings and results of prospective tennis players from different continents across the globe.

“Coach [Jeff] Hammond spends at least four hours a day identifying talent all over the world,” Lama said. “We show recruits that North Texas is a good place to get an education and to become a pro too.”

An hour before a Tuesday afternoon practice following her semifinal doubles defeat in the Midland tournament last weekend, Kononova practices her serve over and over with Lama while the coach repeats his formula for success to the learning freshman.

“Repetition turns into consistency,” Lama said. “Consistency turns into confidence. Confidence turns into excellence. Excellence turns into winning.”

The Mean Green have another chance to add to its win column this weekend when they travel Friday to Oklahoma to compete in the Oklahoma Invitational this weekend.

Featured Image: File Photo

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