North Texas Daily

Mean Green tennis ready to defend conference championship

Mean Green tennis ready to defend conference championship

April 17
22:21 2013

Caitlyn Alvarado / Staff Writer

The No. 60 Mean Green tennis team heads to Lafayette, La., to defend its Sun Belt Conference championship title this weekend.

UNT (15-5, 6-0) will see its first action tomorrow at 8:30 a.m. against the winner of the No. 8 Florida International University  (3-15, 2-2) and No. 9 University of Arkansas-Little Rock (14-9, 2-3) match.

“This is what we have trained all season long for,” head coach Sujay Lama said. “For us, we aren’t going to change anything. Everything will be just how we have done it for the last 20 matches, and everybody is going to take their best shot at us because we are the defending champions.”

The Mean Green was awarded the No. 1 overall seed for the second year in a row. The top four seeds will receive a first round bye. Georgia State University (6-12, 0-0) received the No. 2 seed, followed by Troy University (17-5, 5-1) and the University of South Alabama (15-9, 3-2) in the No. 3 and 4 seeds, respectively. GSU was the only Sun Belt team UNT did not play this season.

Sophomore Franziska Sprinkmeyer said she would be nervous for the first match of the week, but that the team has to remain strong through the entire tournament.

“We can’t do anything else to improve, because all season was the time to do that,” Sprinkmeyer said. “This week is all about our mentality. Our last matches on Saturday and Sunday will be the hardest, but we have to stay strong.”

If the Mean Green team wins tomorrow, it will play again on Saturday at 10 a.m. at the Cajun Courts. If a win comes from that match, UNT will defend its championship on Sunday at 10 a.m. on the same courts.

“We have been getting ready all season,” sophomore Kseniya Bardabush said. “I think our biggest opponent is Georgia State because we didn’t get a chance to play them, since the match was cancelled. So they are the ones I want to beat.”

Lama, however, isn’t focusing on specific teams for the tournament.

“I always say that we are our own biggest competition,” he said. “We just have to do all that we can to control our bodies, our minds, our focus and our attitude. Then we just have to respect every team.”

If all goes as planned for the team, it will return to Denton with its third championship in four years.

“We just have to work hard and take care of business,” Bardabush said. “I just want to bring the victory home, have the championship and a trophy.”

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