North Texas Daily

Seniors lead Mean Green in many ways

Seniors lead Mean Green in many ways

April 04
23:57 2012

Tyler Owens / Staff Writer –

Any senior on any team can say they provide leadership, but seniors Paula Dinuta, Irina Paraschiv and Nadia Miller née Lee have plenty more to offer the UNT tennis team.

“They’re the glue that binds the team together,” associate head coach Jeff Maren said. “They provide the maturity, the confidence and the composure, so those things make up a strong bond.”

Photo by Jordan Foster / Intern - Senior Paula Dinuta returns the ball to freshman Franziska Sprinkmeyer during practice Monday. Dinuta has been playing tennis since she was 5 years old.

Embracing change

While it took time to adjust after transferring from Lee College in 2010, Miller became enthralled at the chance to play for a Division I school. She now feels that she has raised her level of play and is having tremendous success.

Miller immediately made a splash at UNT, as she finished her first season with a 20-13 singles record and received the Catalina Cruz Spirit Award, along with being named Sun Belt Conference Player of the Week in mid-February.

This year has been anything but a letdown for Miller, who has compiled an 8-5 singles record so far, including victories against two ranked opponents.

Photo by Chelsea Stratso / Senior Staff - Senior Nadia Lee returns a serve to her opponents during a doubles match against FIU at the Waranch Tennis Complex Feb. 26. The Mean Green defeated Denver University 5-2 on Friday and Louisville University 4-0 on Sunday.

Team first

Though Dinuta has received numerous accolades over her career – including Sun Belt Player of the Week honors twice – her biggest accomplishments were helping her team win the SBC Championship in 2010 and her performance in the classroom.

“Winning the conference was a very good accomplishment, tennis-wise, but then in school I also have a pretty good GPA,” she said.

For Dinuta, the team means as much to her as she means to it.

“We had ups and downs like everybody has, but I can say I grew a lot over these four years, and it changed me completely from who I was before. Definitely these four years had a big impact on my life,” Dinuta said. “I’m more mature, more confident in myself, a better athlete and a better student.”

Photo by Tyler Cleveland / Visuals Editor - Senior Irina Paraschiv celebrates with freshman Franziska Sprinkmeyer as she approaches for a hug after defeating Louisiana-Lafayette 6-1 on Sunday at the Waranch Tennis Complex.

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Captain’s accolades

Though hindered by two injuries during her college career, team captain Paraschiv has accomplished what most players can only dream of.

A Recipient of Player of the Week honors as a freshman and the Mean Green MVP award twice, she has set the standard of excellence for the team.

Paraschiv was not available for comment.

“They’re very valuable, not just for their ability to play tennis but for their personality and maturity as well,” Maren said. “Coach [Sujay Lama] and I look at these girls like our daughters, so it’s tough to let them go out into the world, but we also know that they’re prepared to do that. We are sad to see them go, but we are confident that they can handle whatever lies in front of them.”

UNT has four regular season games left before it hosts the SBC Championships on April 19.

“The next goal for me is to help contribute to the team winning conference. From there, we have great opportunities to go even further,” Miller said. “We take it one step at a time, and we’re looking to go as far as we can.”

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