North Texas Daily

North Texas sweeps condensed weekend

North Texas sweeps condensed weekend

North Texas sweeps condensed weekend
February 12
10:40 2019

The North Texas tennis team swept their weekend of play in 6-1 and 5-0 victories over Sam Houston State and Western Kentucky. Both matches were moved indoors to Plano and Las Colinas due to freezing temperatures outside. Saturday’s match did not feature doubles play.

“I thought that yesterday was the best I saw as far as their energy, their fight, their competitive spirit,” head coach Sujay Lama said. “We knew that was a good match and we had to play well.”

On Friday, Lama said that junior Alexandra Heczey stepped up against Sam Houston State, playing one of her best matches of the year in singles. Heczey followed up her straight-set singles win on Friday with another on Saturday, beating her Western Kentucky opponent 6-1, 6-1.

Fielding a shallow ball, junior Alexandra Heczey, extends to return a volley. Heczey secured two 6-1 wins over Western Kentucky. Image by: Kara Dry.

“I’m happy I could contribute to the team with my win,” Heczey said. “Everyone fought hard and played amazing tennis today and I am really happy for the team win.”

The Mean Green won eight out of 11 singles matches in straight sets over the weekend, including a straight-sets sweep of Western Kentucky on Saturday. Senior Tamuna Kutubidze went down early in the first set of her singles match 2-0 but rebounded to win 6-4, 6-1.

“I think I was rushing a bit at the beginning of the first set,” Kutubidze said. “I was making mistakes and she also started really well. Coach Lama told me one thing to do with her, it just became easier and then the second set was 6-1.”

At points in that 6-1 victory, Lama said Kutubidze was playing, “beautiful, world class” tennis and he could see Kutubidze improving incrementally as the match went on.

“She just needed to bring her intensity,” Lama said. “Then have the right game plan because with Tamuna, she’s got to play her style. She’s got to impose her game, she’s got to be closer to the baseline, she’s got to play aggressive tennis, but with the right patterns.”

Kutubidze swept her opponent 6-4, 6-1. After the match, the nationally ranked player said she was feeling a bit fatigued.

“It’s ten days now that I’m not really feeling good,” Kutubidze said. “It’s fine, whenever I’m on the court, I just try to give the best that I have.”

With Kutubidze feeling drained, senior Mingying Liang out with the flu and junior Haruka Sasaki also under the weather, Lama said rest is key for the Mean Green’s next set of matches.

“It’s gonna take a total team effort, everybody healthy mentally and physically,” Lama said. “We’re gonna give them two days off to kind of rest, recover, but then on Tuesday when we get to work, our focus is Kansas State on Friday.

Friday’s match will start at 2 p.m. at Waranch Tennis Complex. North Texas play on Sunday, at 11 a.m. against Arizona at home.

Featured Image: Senior Tamuna Kutubidze charges across the court as she fields a volley from a Western Kentucky opponent. Kutubidze won her singles match 6-4 6-1, earning her a 6-1 record for the season. Image by: Kara Dry. 

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Caleb Akpan

Caleb Akpan

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