North Texas Daily

Tennis can’t overcome undefeated Kansas, loses third straight

Tennis can’t overcome undefeated Kansas, loses third straight

Freshman Laura Arciniegas returns a serve against Central Arkasnsas. Dylan Nadwodny | Staff Photographer

Tennis can’t overcome undefeated Kansas, loses third straight
February 06
19:26 2016

Torie Mosley | Staff Writer


North Texas has had a rough two weeks since winning its spring season opening matchup against the University of Central Arkansas.

The Mean Green (1-3) got swept 5-0 on the road Friday versus the University of Kansas (5-0). The meet was stopped early after North Texas failed to win a single point.

The freshmen doubles duo of Tamuna Kutubidze and Maria Kononova won the first set of the day 6-3, but lost the doubles point by falling 7-6 in both of the last two sets..

“We had a good effort and improved in doubles play today, but we still weren’t all together,” head coach Sujay Lama said. “This is the second time we didn’t execute the doubles point. When you don’t win the doubles match, you go into singles play differently.”

Singles play didn’t end much better. North Texas lost four straight singles matches and left two singles matches unfinished. After sharing the lone set win of the day in doubles, Kutubidze lost 6-1, 6-0 in singles play.

Kononova played better in her singles match, but fell 6-3, 6-4. Anastasiya Shestakova also lost 6-2, 6-1 in her lone singles match of the day.

“We didn’t finish well with the chances we had in a few different matches,” Lama said. “We’re still figuring out a lineup with so many new faces.”

With freshman at four of the eight current Mean Green roster spots, Lama said this season has been an ongoing learning experience for the young team as they continue to get used to playing against Division I talent across the nation.

“The freshmen are starting to get more settled than last weekend,” Lama said. “The difference is confidence. When you have that, matches start to go your way.”

Lama said the only way the team will get the experience it needs is by giving their all in every future meet, starting tomorrow against Wichita State University.

“There’s no shortcuts,” Lama said. “You have to get used to playing in different conditions and continue to improve with good energy and better effort.”

One tandem to keep an eye on is the freshmen doubles pair of Kutubidze and Kononova. Kutubidze said the ability of both freshmen to speak Russian helps them have a competitive advantage during matches.

“We really understand each other whether we say a word or not,” Kutubidze said. “We both speak Russian, so when our opponent doesn’t speak the language, we can change something on the court without them knowing.”

Junior Alexis Thoma said the team played better than the score showed, but didn’t finish the way they should have. Thoma lost a close 7-6 doubles match with freshman Minying Liang before falling 6-3, 7-5 in singles action.

“I actually felt pretty good today,” Thoma said. “We fought hard until the end, but got too comfortable on the last couple points. We just need to keep our heads up because we’ve been right there with every team.”

North Texas will be back in action tomorrow on the road against Wichita State at 11 a.m.

Featured Image: Freshman Laura Arciniegas returns a serve against Central Arkasnsas. Dylan Nadwodny | Staff Photographer

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