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‘Something special is brewing’: Tennis riding hot start to 2022 season

‘Something special is brewing’: Tennis riding hot start to 2022 season

‘Something special is brewing’: Tennis riding hot start to 2022 season
February 18
09:00 2022

With a 6-1 start to the season, including wins in its two matches against Conference USA opponents, the women’s tennis team has matched its win total from the 2021 campaign when it finished 6-13 after a 2-5 start.

North Texas began the season with a four-game winning streak, defeating Abilene Christian University, Arkansas State University, New Mexico State University and Lamar University. The team took its lone loss of the season so far against Texas Christian University on Feb. 7 by a score of 4-2.

The loss did not bring the team’s morale down. Instead, it motivated the players and head coach Sujay Lama as North Texas bounced back and won its first two conference matches of the year. It defeated the University of Texas-San Antonio 4-0 on Feb. 11 and knocked off Middle Tennessee State University 6-1 on Feb. 13.

“We should have won the [TCU] match,” Lama said. “But luckily, what we have done is that we have used that to fuel us to get even better. We are not satisfied going to TCU and just playing a close match.”

After a trip to Memphis was canceled due to a winter storm, North Texas added the match against TCU. Lama said the addition provided a much-needed challenge prior to their first conference match against UTSA.

“We absolutely needed a match, whether it was Memphis or TCU, because the first four matches we weren’t really challenged,” Lama said. “When you are not challenged you don’t really learn a lot about yourself. With TCU we were challenged, we rose to the challenge and then we couldn’t close it out. We were able to collect a lot of data from every match so now we know what it is going to be like playing teams in the top-15 in the country.”

Senior Lucie Devier, the C-USA women’s tennis Newcomer of the Year last season, has helped fuel the team’s early triumphs. Devier has won all six of her singles matches and taken six out of seven doubles matches with her partner, freshman Jasmine Adams.

“I am putting [in] a lot of effort every day and also I am finding my game again,” Devier said. “Even if I still need to work on it, I am more consistent. Mentally, I am calmer and of course, as a senior, you have the experience a freshman does not have about controlling the court.”

Partnering with Devier in doubles, Adams has begun her first spring collegiate season with a record of 4-2 in singles and 6-1 in doubles. Adams said she hopes to find her place in the team as she learns what college tennis and studying is like.

“I feel pressure, but I take it more as a challenge,” Adams said. “I like pressure. I want to try and stay up as high as I can in the lineup and just play my game as best as I can and do as well for the team as I can.”

Players remaining healthy throughout the season is necessary for a team to maximize its full potential. Lama said he believes his support staff is the best in the country in helping ensure that happens.

“I have an assistant who has a background on how to keep the body strong and healthy and I have a strength coach who is world-class,” Lama said. “I have a physio, the trainer here, that is absolutely again world-class. […] We look at recovery as part of the training.”

Lama said the energy within the team is positive and the players have bought into the team’s culture of competitive growth. The Mean Green’s positive start to the season puts them one step closer to their goal of winning the conference and competing in this year’s NCAA tournament.

“Everybody brings it every single day and when they do that they get better, but also they make each other better,” Lama said. “When you have this combination of ability with this work ethic and focus something special is brewing for sure.”

Featured Image: Junior Sophia Hummel serves the ball at the Waranch Tennis Complex on Jan. 30, 2022. Photo by Maria Crane

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Ramiro Cuellar

Ramiro Cuellar

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