North Texas Daily

Tennis squeaks out victory, stays undefeated at home

Tennis squeaks out victory, stays undefeated at home

Then-freshman tennis player Maria Kononova swings at the ball during a singles match against Penn last season. Colin Mitchell | Senior Staff Photographer

Tennis squeaks out victory, stays undefeated at home
March 06
19:34 2016

Courtney Anderson | Staff Writer

@CPaigeA23

No. 68 Mean Green tennis stayed undefeated at home and broke its three game losing streak after a 4-3 win against the University of Pennsylvania. The Mean Green (6-7) had to fight hard in the singles matches after losing the doubles point early on to come back and beat the Quakers (5-3).

The two singles losses came at the hands of freshmen Maria Kononova and Laura Arciniegas as they faced Penn juniors Kana Daniel and Luba Vazhenina, respectively. Arciniegas and Vazhenina were neck-and-neck towards the end, but the freshman couldn’t pull out a win.

Each team had three points before freshman Tamuna Kutubidze came back after losing the first match 6-2 to win the next two 6-4 and 6-3 and secure the win for the Mean Green. Her teammates and coach swarmed the court while jumping and cheering to celebrate the final point.

“We had to protect our home,” Kutubidze said. “I looked over and saw that Nastya won her set, and it gave me the energy I needed.”

Freshman Tamuna Kutubidze swings at the ball in a singles match against Penn. Colin Mitchell | Senior Staff Photographer

Freshman Tamuna Kutubidze swings at the ball in a singles match against Penn. Colin Mitchell | Senior Staff Photographer

Senior Anastasiya (Nastya) Shestakova also had close set versus Penn’s senior Sonya Latycheva. The windy weather conditions made the match extremely difficult, according to Shestakova, but she still pulled it off in the end and emerged victorious.

“On one side of the court, you would have to put all of your power, like 200 percent into the swing,” she said. “At times, it felt like I had nothing left in me, especially when I was behind, but I knew I had to try.”

Head coach Sujay Lama is excited about playing at home for the next month so the team can feed off of the crowd’s spirited energy.

“This is a very big win for us against a great team, and it keeps us in the national rankings,” Lama said. “This is the strongest schedule we’ve played, so we’re going to take some losses, but it’s about learning from those losses and getting back on track like we did today.”

The Mean Green women hope to keep its undefeated status at home against the University of New Mexico on Friday at 3 p.m.

Featured Image: Freshman tennis player Maria Kononova swings at the ball during a singles match against Penn. Colin Mitchell | Senior Staff Photographer

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