Tennis Loses in Nail-Biter to No. 35 Houston
Final Singles Matches Decide Closest Match of Season
COLLEGE STATION — With only seven points up for grabs in a collegiate tennis match, sometimes team results can come down to what is basically a coin flip. The North Texas tennis team had one of those matches January 25, as the Mean Green fell to No. 35 Houston by a score of 4-2.
"The ladies played their hearts out today," head coach Sujay Lama said. "It was a great match and we gave ourselves a chance to win."
In doubles, Ana Sofia Cordero and Agustina Valenzuela won by a score of 6-1 against Maria Cardenas and Charlotte Phillips, which meant North Texas needed one of the next two decisions. The Cougars had other plans, though, as they swept the final two matches and took the doubles point and a 1-0 lead. The Mean Green duo of Kseniya Bardabush and Franziska Sprinkmeyer had a 4-1 lead in their match with the serve, but proceeded to lose the final five games for a 6-4 loss to Mina Markovic and Despoina Vogasari.
In singles, Valenzuela had a straight-set 6-0, 6-3 win over Maria Cardenas for an undefeated day. In addition, Anastasiya Shestakova earned her first singles victory of the season with a 6-3, 6-2 decision over Rocio Martin. After two straight-set losses and a three-set 1-6, 6-0, 6-1 loss by Bardabush to No. 21 Vogasari, North Texas was behind 3-2 and needed both remaining singles points to win the match.
Alexis Thoma fought back from a one-set deficit and took a 5-4 lead in the third set, but ultimately fell to Markovic by a score of 6-2, 3-6, 7-5. Thoma had a chance to extend the match to a third-set tiebreak but lost the deuce point to Markovic in the final game. Sprinkmeyer and Charlotte Phillips played well into the third set before being called off the court for an unfinished match with the score at 5-7, 6-2, 5-4. If both of those matches went the other way for the Mean Green, it would have been a 4-3 win rather than a 4-2 loss.
"We dug ourselves a hole losing the doubles point, but kept battling and had the momentum at the end," Lama explained. "Credit Houston for playing well with their backs against the wall when we had leads in the last two matches."
Next up for North Texas will be the team’s first home match of the spring season January 28 against Stephen F. Austin. The match will begin at 2 p.m. on Wednesday at the Waranch Tennis Complex. Even though the Mean Green is 0-3, Lama is glad his girls had the opportunity to play against tough opponents early in the season.
"We are excited to play at home this week," he said. "The level of competition we have faced so far has made us raise our level of play. It will serve us well for the upcoming matches."
1. Bardabush/Sprinkmeyer lose to Markovic/Vogasari, 6-4
2. Shestakova/Thoma lose to Martin/Kordolaimi, 6-3
3. Cordeo/Valenzuela defeat Cardenas/Phillips, 6-1
1. Bardabush loses to #21 Vogasari, 1-6, 6-0, 6-1
2. Galieva loses to #52 Kordolaimi, 7-5, 6-2
3. Shestakova defeats Martin, 6-3, 6-2
4. Thoma loses to Markovic, 6-2, 3-6, 7-5
5. Valenzuela defeats Cardenas, 6-0, 6-3
6. Sprinkmeyer vs. Phillips goes unfinished, 5-7, 6-2, 5-4