DENTON, Texas - No. 59 North Texas tennis secured its second Sun Belt Conference Championship on Sunday afternoon by defeating No. 2 seed FIU, 4-2, at the Waranch Tennis Complex in front of 637 fans.
The Mean Green (18-6) started the match like it has every bout since the beginning of March, capturing two of the three doubles matches and taking a 1-0 lead into singles.
Freshman Kseniya Bardabush and junior Valentina Starkova scored the first strike for North Texas when they took out Gulietta Boha and Karyn Guttormsen in a quick, 8-3 match. Senior Nadia Lee and junior Barbora Vykydalova took the second match on court No. 1, earning a tough, 8-3 victory as well.
The Golden Panthers (7-15) struck back a little over an hour into singles when Sun Belt All-Conference member Rita Maisak beat Bardabush in straight sets, 6-3, 6-3. Ilona Serchenko put the Mean Green back on top when she jumped on FIU's Christine Seredni and handed the Panthers' No. 5 player her first lost of the tournament, 6-4, 6-3.
FIU wouldn't go away though, earning another match-squaring point when Lisa Johnson defeated Starkova in three sets, 6-3, 3-6, 6-3.
Senior Paula Dinuta, who was named the Sun Belt Conference Most Outstanding Player for her performance this week, regained the momentum for the Mean Green with a 7-5, 4-6, 6-2 win to give North Texas a 3-2 lead with two matches remaining.
Another senior, Irina Paraschiv pushed NT over the top on court four after a back-and forth affair with Karyn Guttormsen. Paraschiv fell behind 4-1 early to Guttormsen in the first set before mounting a comeback to even the score at four a piece, but the senior would lose the set 6-4. When faced with a similar situation in the second set, Paraschiv overcame three match points, forced a tiebreaker, and evened the match with a 7-6 victory.
"I saw that almost everyone was down in the match and I knew that I needed to step it up as a senior," said Paraschiv. "Coach [Jeff] Maren gave me some in match advice in that second set and I started to miss less and get after her."
She would then ride the momentum to win the final set, 6-2, to clinch the match and the championship for the Mean Green.
North Texas will await the NCAA selection show for its seeding and destination for the NCAA First and Second Rounds. The show is scheduled for 4 p.m. on Tuesday, May 1, and the NCAA First and Second Rounds will take place at school sites May 10-13.
#59 North Texas 4, Florida International 2
Florida International vs North Texas (Apr 22, 2012)
Apr 22, 2012 at Denton, Texas (Waranch Tennis Complex)
|1. Rita Maisak (FIU) def. Kseniya Bardabush (NT) 6-3, 6-3|
|2. Nadia Lee (NT) vs. Sarah McLean (FIU) 7-6, 5-6, unfinished|
|3. Lisa Johnson (FIU) def. Valentina Starkova (NT) 6-3, 3-6, 6-3|
|4. Irina Paraschiv (NT) def. Karyn Guttormsen (FIU) 4-6, 7-6, 6-3|
|5. Ilona Serchenko (NT) def. Christine Seredni (FIU) 6-4, 6-3|
|6. Paula Dinuta (NT) def. Gulietta Boha (FIU) 7-5, 4-6, 6-2|
|1. Barbora Vykydalova/Nadia Lee (NT) def. Rita Maisak/Sarah McLean (FIU) 8-3|
|2. Kseniya Bardabush/Valentina Starkova (NT) def. Gulietta Boha/Karyn Guttormsen (FIU) 8-3|
|3. Irina Paraschiv/Paula Dinuta (NT) vs. Lisa Johnson/Christine Seredni (FIU) 4-7, unfinished|
|Florida International 7-15|
|North Texas 18-6; National ranking #59|
|Order of finish: Doubles (2,1); Singles (1,3,5,6,4)|
|Sun Belt Women's Championship Match|
Generated on 4/22/2012