Mean Green Lose Home Opener To Michigan State
North Texas Falls 4-3
DENTON – The North Texas women’s tennis team lost its home opener against Michigan State 4-3 on Saturday afternoon.
North Texas nearly won the doubles point after Laura Arciniegas and Minying Liang forced a tiebreak against Athena Trouillot and Samantha Memije, but the Spartans ended doubles play with a 1-0 lead and used the momentum to win three singles matches and take the contest.
“We found a way to get back in position to win the doubles point, but I think in the end they were just a little more aggressive than us,” head coach Sujay Lama said.
North Texas (0-2) got strong contributions from their top doubles pair of Maria Kononova and Tamuna Kutubidze. The No. 54 ranked doubles team made their season debut together and defeated Erin Faulkner and Allie Baer 6-0. Kononova and Kutubidze went 10-5 in No. 1 doubles matches last spring and their .667 winning percentage is tied for the seventh best in program history.
"It was great to have Tamuna back,” Lama said. “She has put in a lot of hard work and it paid off for her today. The chemistry she has with Maria is special. They did not miss a beat since the last time they played together in regionals."
The Spartans’ (3-0) combo of Emily Metcalf and Davina Nguyen defeated Alexandra Heczey and Alexis Thoma 6-1, which put Trouillot and Memije in position to take the doubles point with their win in tiebreakers.
Kononova looked dominant in her singles match against Faulkner (6-0, 6-3). The sophomore won eight singles matches last spring at the No. 1 spot. Kononova’s success carried over to this past fall. In October, she reached the ITA Texas Regional Singles Final.
Haruka Sasaki also played well Saturday. The freshman won her match against Lexi Baylis in a tiebreaker (6-1, 7-6 (4)). Heczey provided the Mean Green with their other singles win by defeating Trouillot (7-5, 6-3).
"We'll learn from our loss today and come back stronger tomorrow,” Lama said. “Part of the process is dealing with adversity and getting better every single day."
The North Texas women’s tennis team returns to play tomorrow morning against Lamar (1-1) at 11:00 a.m. at the Waranch Tennis Complex.
1. Maria Kononova (NT) def. Erin Faulkner (MSU) 6-0, 6-3
2. Aslina Chua (MSU) def. Alexis Thoma (NT) 6-1, 6-3
3. Davina Nguyen (MSU) def. Minying Liang (NT) 7-6 (3), 6-2
4. Emily Metcalf (MSU) def. Laura Arciniegas (NT) 6-0, 6-0
5. Haruka Sasaki (NT) def. Lexi Baylis (MSU) 6-1, 7-6 (4)
6. Alexandra Heczey (NT) def. Athena Trouillot (MSU) 7-5, 6-3)
1. Maria Kononova/Tamuna Kutubidze (NT) def. Erin Faulkner/Allie Baer (MSU) 6-0
2. Emily Metcalf/Davina Nguyen (MSU) def. Alexandra Heczey/Alexis Thoma (NT) 6-1
3. Athena Trouillot/Samantha Memije (MSU) def. Laura Arciniegas/Minying Liang (NT) 7-6 (2)