North Texas Daily

Tennis wins four matches in final day at UCF tournament

Tennis wins four matches in final day at UCF tournament

January 20
11:30 2016

Torie Mosley | Staff Writer

@toriemosley

The North Texas tennis team opened its spring season with a three-day tournament last weekend in Orlando, Florida for the University of Central Florida Quad Tournament. The Mean Green faced the hosting UCF Knights, the Rice University Owls and the Florida International University Golden Panthers.

The Mean Green earned eight victories throughout the tournament, five in singles and three in doubles. On the last day of the tournament, junior Alexis Thoma came back with vengeance after losing the first set against Golden Panther senior Carlotta Orlando to come out on top, 4-6, 7-6(5), 7-5.

“That comeback was one of the greatest wins in my collegiate career,” Thoma said. “I fell to my knees and started crying after the match was finally over.”

The victory came after a frustrating weekend in singles play for Thoma after losing to UCF Saturday 6-1, 7-6(8) and Rice on Sunday, 3-6, 6-4, 6-2. Thoma said she felt great to finish the road trip with a win despite the overall result of the tournament.

“I’ll never forget that victory,” Thoma said. “We didn’t get as many wins as we wanted, but going out there and giving it our best every time will help us get better as a team.”

Head coach Sujay Lama said he liked seeing the guts Thoma showed coming from behind to grab the win.

“Alexis is a warrior on the court and always gives 100 percent,” Lama said. “She’s a great example of how we want our players to fight for victories in every match.”

Freshmen duo Maria Kononova and Tamuna Kutubidze accounted for two of three doubles wins for North Texas. The doubles team of freshman Laura Arciniegas and senior Agustina Valenzuela notched the third.

“It took us a couple of days to get our competitive groove back since it’s been awhile since our last tournament,” Lama said. “We have a lot of work to do to make the strides we need to make.”

Kononova said she enjoyed competing in her first spring action for the Mean Green. The freshman Russian native lost both of her singles matches but went 2-1 in doubles play.

“I think I did really well for my first tournament,” Kononova said. “I need to work on my serve and I have much room for improvement, but I still need to be more confident when I’m playing.”

Although Kononova said she has room to grow in her singles play, Lama said he’s proud of the potential Kononova brings the team in doubles events.

“Maria has all the instincts it takes to be a good doubles player,” Lama said. “She’s quick, plays with a lot of intensity and knows where to be at all times on offense and defense when sharing the court in doubles matches.”

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