North Texas Daily

Tennis shuts out Louisiana Tech, advances to C-USA semifinals

Tennis shuts out Louisiana Tech, advances to C-USA semifinals

April 22
20:49 2016

Torie Mosley | Staff Writer

@toriemosley

Only two wins come between the North Texas women’s tennis team and a Conference USA championship.

Senior Agustina Valenzuela clinched her second straight meet-winning point in the Mean Green’s (13-9) 4-0 shutout of Louisiana Tech in the quarterfinal round of the C-USA tournament in Murfreesboro, Tennessee.

The squad’s upperclassmen made up for all three of the team’s singles points to get the victory.

“It feels great to get [the shutout] today,” Valenzuela said. “It wasn’t as easy as the score says but we played really well all around.”

Valenzuela had a rough start to the meet with a 6-2 loss in doubles with freshman partner Minying Liang against Marta Sramkova and Jazmin Britos of the Lady Techsters (15-7).

The senior redeemed herself with a 6-4, 6-4 singles win – putting the nail in the coffin on Louisiana Tech’s season.

“We beat them the last three times, so I knew they would want this game bad,” Valenzuela said. “They were cheering really loud the whole time but we’re 4-0 against them in our last four games with them now.”

After Valenzuela and Liang’s doubles loss tied the teams at a point a piece, freshmen duo Maria Kononova and Tamuna Kutubidze went back-and-forth with Louisiana Tech’s Alexandra Starkova and Zoe Chen.

Kononova and Kutubidze went down 5-3 in the final doubles point before surging back from behind to force the match to a 7-6 finish.

“I love the way the team played today,” head coach Sujay Lama said. “They competed, battled and played their very best and never lost focus.”

The freshmen duo has played most of their doubles matches with each other this season. Lama said he had no doubt the tag-team would bounce back from an early deficit.

“Tamuna and Maria have had tough matches together all year so they’re used to it by now,” Lama said. “I reminded them to stay poised and they played hard for every point.”

Junior Alexis Thoma and senior Mean Green teammate Anastasiya Shestakova beat Lousiana Tech’s Manoela Chiacchio 6-4, 6-4 after blowing past her and Taly Merker.

Thoma said the team earned its spot in the semifinals against a good team in the Lady Techsters.

“The win wasn’t easy, but we went out there and did what we needed to do,” Thoma said. “We knew what we wanted to do and wanted to be aggressive.”

North Texas takes on No. 2 seed Rice University tomorrow at noon in a semifinal matchup.

“I’m excited for tomorrow,” Thoma said. “We’ve lost so many close matches against Rice and going out and beating a good team like that would feel great.”

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

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