North Texas Daily

Tennis team stays sharp year round

Tennis team stays sharp year round

Tennis team stays sharp year round
October 02
14:23 2013

Brett Medeiros / Senior Staff Writer

For the first time in three years, UNT tennis will not be the team that everyone will be gunning for.

The Mean Green left the Sun Belt Conference as two time defending champions, and as they head into Conference USA the hunted will become hunters.

The official season starts on Jan. 14 when the team takes on the University of Oklahoma, but right now UNT is in the midst of its fall season preparation that includes a schedule of five tournaments throughout the fall semester.

Every tournament requires traveling across the country, apart from Metroplex Mania – a tournament that will be held at the Waranch Tennis Complex in Denton on the first three days of November. It will be the last fall tournament for the team.

“The goal is to reach the mountaintop of the conference. Right now in the fall, today leads to tomorrow,” head coach Sujay Lama said. “We can’t worry about anybody else but us at this point in the season. We have to improve and that’s what these fall tournaments give us.”

The Mean Green tennis team competes year round because of the threat of injuries and to prepare as much as it can before the start of the season.

The first conference game for the Mean Green comes Feb. 21 against the University of Tulsa, a team that made it to the Conference USA finals last year.

Although it is a ways away, getting to that first conference game is on the minds of each player.

“These tournaments are very important for next semester so we can get as much experience in as possible before conference play,” junior Franziska Sprinkmeyer said. “As soon as next semester starts, we will know our game and we will know what to do.”

The tournaments also help lay out what will be the best possible doubles pairings for the teams. Scouting within the team to find the best parings is vital to regular season success where doubles matches in many cases determine the outcome of matches.

Lama said having the tournaments spread out over the fall would help provide the team with preparation for the upcoming season without wearing the team down or risking major injuries before the season even starts.

“Being able to perform year round like that takes a lot of discipline. That is really what it all comes down to. Being disciplined with your schedule, training, class, nutrition you name it,” said Johnny Quinn, a former two-sport athlete for UNT. “It would just not make sense to have
[football] year round because of how violent the game is. You would need that offseason.”

UNT is ranked 61th in the nation. Three other Conference USA teams are represented in the nation’s top 70 – Rice University at 22nd, the University of Tulsa at 29th and Tulane University at 50th.

Making a three-peat as a conference champion will be a challenge for UNT, but the players believe they are up for the challenge.

“We are all working extremely hard knowing that Conference USA will be a tougher conference for us,” freshman Alexis Thoma said. “It’s a challenge, but all it’s doing is motivating us to work even harder.”

Junior Franziska Sprinkmeyer lobs the ball over the net during practice on Sept. 20. Sprinkmeyer’s hometown is Nordhorn, Germany. Feature photo by Edward Balusek / Staff Photographer 

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