North Texas Daily

Tennis finishes Florida trip with tough loss to Knights

Tennis finishes Florida trip with tough loss to Knights

At practice on Thursday March 23, 2017, UNT tennis Head Coach Sujay Lama (center) observes his players as they run through drill exercises. As a philosophy for training great players, Lama says that those who are successful are passionate about the sport. Katie Jenkins

Tennis finishes Florida trip with tough loss to Knights
January 21
18:39 2018

Coming off of a 4-3 win over the reigning American Athletic Conference champions, the University of South Florida on Friday, North Texas tennis met the University of Central Florida on Sunday afternoon. In their second match in three days against these two Florida schools, the Mean Green (1-1) had a tough outing against the impressive Knights.

Two days after defeating the No.15 team in the country, the University of South Carolina, Central Florida (2-0) rolled the Mean Green 4-1 in Tampa, Florida.

Head coach Sujay Lama knows starting the season with back to back tough matches in Florida will help this team down the road as conference play approaches, despite the result.

“It’s important to schedule the best and compete with the best,” Lama said. “These were two great matches to learn from and [now we] know the areas where we must improve.”

The Knights held a 1-0 lead which they claimed after winning the doubles point two matches to none.

The ease with which Central Florida won the doubles sets pointed to an area of improvement Lama wants to see out of his team going forward.

“It was a great test to start the season,” Lama said. “We learned that the area we must improve on is doubles. Whether that may be trying out different combinations or just working on improving our chemistry. Also, footwork and getting into better shape is something we can always improve on as the season progresses.”

In singles, the Knights’ three wins came at the three, four and six matchups with two left unfinished.

The Mean Green’s number one player and the No.42 ranked player in the country, junior Maria Kononova, provided North Texas’ lone point with her victory over Maria Martinez the No.64 ranked player nationally. She won in straight sets (6-4, 6-4).

“Maria was a very strong opponent and was very sharp,” Kononova said. “I went in with the mindset to play good defense and take advantage of opportunities to score and stay aggressive.”

Kononova summarizes the team’s mindset coming out of this trip with one word as the team closes in on conference play.

“Improvement,” Kononova said. “[We have] a lot to work on moving forward and this was a good test.”

Next up: The Mean Green host their first match of the year against conference opponent Louisiana Tech at 12 p.m. at the Waranch Tennis Complex.

Featured image: At practice on Thursday March 23, 2017, UNT tennis Head Coach Sujay Lama (center) observes his players as they run through drill exercises. Katie Jenkins

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Karl Masamba

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