Tennis ends season undefeated in Denton with 4-1 win

Tennis ends season undefeated in Denton with 4-1 win

Tennis ends season undefeated in Denton with 4-1 win
April 16
17:56 2016

Torie Mosley | Staff Writer

@toriemosley

On cloudy and windy Saturday morning, the North Texas women’s tennis team upset No. 59 University of Texas at Arlington (16-4) 4-1 on senior day at the Waranch Tennis Complex – the home court the Mean Green (11-9) never lost on this season.

“It’s good to win at home. especially on the last match at home for the seniors,” head coach Sujay Lama said. “They’ve brought so much to the program.”

North Texas blew past UTA after a close doubles round. Senior Agustina Valenzuela and freshman Minying Liang lost the first of three doubles matches 6-2 to UTA juniors Jessica Birowski and Astrid Gehre. Mean Green senior Anastasiya Shestakova and junior Alexis Thoma then kept the home team alive in 6-3 victory over UTA freshman Valeria Lopez and sophomore Agustina Serio.

All attention went to court one where both squad’s top doubles pairs faced off in a heated back-and-forth matchup. Coming down to the tie-breaking point, freshmen Maria Kononova and Tamuna Kutubidze notched the meet’s first point with a 7-6(5) doubles win over UTA’s Elizabeth Thoms and Angeles de los Rios.

“It was tense,” Kutubidze said. “We were down and I told [Maria] we were not going to lose this game.”

Noticing the meet’s doubles point relied on their performance, Kutubidze said her nerves got the best of her initially.

“At first I was shaking because I knew the match meant a lot to the team,” Kutubidze said. “But we got our points when we needed to and somehow pulled out the win.”

Kononova and Kutubidze trailed most of the doubles match after winning the match’s first point. Down 5-3, the Mean Green won three straight game points to go up 6-5 before UTA tied the match at six apiece. Untimately, North Texas finished UTA off 7-5 in the tie-breaker to gain the early edge going into singles play.

Valenzuela lost her second match against UTA’s Serio 6-4, 6-2 to tie the meet at 1-1. From that point on, the Mean Green protected its home court, winning three straight singles matches to end the meet early.

Liang picked up a 4-6, 6-3, 6-4 win against UTA’s Gehre after losing the first set. Shestakova then won her second straight match to end her North Texas career 6-3, 6-3 against Birowski.

“It feels awesome to finish my last regular season on a good note,” Shestakova said. “I’m really going to miss all the support we’ve gotten from our fans, friends and coaches.”

In a neck-and-neck matchup on court six, Mean Green freshman Laura Arciniegas notched the meet victory against UTA’s Carla Cerdan Vives 6-2, 2-6, 6-3.

Lama said this win gives North Texas plenty momentum going into postseason play next week.

“I could not have asked for a better ending to the season,” Lama said. “With our undefeated home record and national and conference ranking on the line, it was a total team effort to get the win today.”

The Mean Green will begin the Conference USA tournament in Murfreesboro, Tennessee Thursday.

Featured Image: Junior Alexis Thoma practices baseline drills during practice Wednesday afternoon. Meagan Sullivan | Visuals Editor

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