Energized Mean Green Tennis Team Beats Lamar, 6-1
North Texas' Tamuna Kutubidze Returns To The Lineup
DENTON – The North Texas women’s tennis team captured its first win of the year in a dominant 6-1 outing over the Lamar Cardinals on Sunday afternoon in Denton. North Texas’ top two doubles teams each won 6-2, which set the stage for five straight singles wins.
“We improved so much from yesterday,” said head coach Sujay Lama. “Our poise and just the way we jelled was fantastic. Everything slowed down for everyone and we were locked in for all our matches.”
Mean Green (1-2) sophomore Tamuna Kutubidze made her 2017 singles debut and defeated the Cardinals’ (1-2) Anna Spengler with a gutsy 7-4 tiebreaker, which sealed the win for North Texas. Kutubidze, the 14th highest ranked player in the Texas region, said her first singles match was a good learning experience and feels more confident moving forward.
“I was a bit nervous but I think I handled it pretty well,” Kutubidze said. “My forehand was also in the back of my mind, but the feeling I had today off all of my winners will help me for the next match. Today was a good first test.”
A pair of 6-2 wins by Maria Kononova/Kutubidze and Alexis Thoma/Alexandra Heczey propelled the Mean Green to the doubles point win. Haruka Sasaki and Laura Arciniegas were losing their doubles match 3-5 against Jasmin Buchta and Hanna Elfving, but it was called and unfinished when the doubles point was awarded to North Texas.
In singles play, Heczey was able to channel her energy from the doubles point and put North Texas on top 2-0 by defeating Sanja Jolic (6-4, 6-2). Arciniegas won her match over Stephanie Marchena moments later (6-1, 6-3). That gave Kutubidze an opportunity to seal the win for North Texas.
“I’m so happy for (Kutubidze),” Lama said. “She loves this game and she loves to compete for the team. She energized the team with her presence in the lineup today.”
Kononova and Sasaki won their singles matches as well, with both featuring tiebreakers. Buchta defeated Thoma 7-6 (7-4), 6-3 to avoid the shutout for the Cardinals.
The team has a brief break before their next match against Tulsa on Friday and Lama plans on using the time to build upon Sunday’s success.
“It’ll be nice to have a chance to regroup a little and look back at the things we did right and the things we need to get better at,” Lama said. “We are looking forward to playing a very good and well coached team in a few days.”
The North Texas women’s tennis team will have a five-day break before returning to action against Tulsa. The match will take place at the Bent Tree Country Club in Dallas at 6:00 p.m.
1. Maria Kononova (NT) def. Katya Lapayeva (LU) 7-6 (7-2), 6-4
2. Tamuna Kutubidze (NT) def. Anna Spengler (LU) 6-1, 7-6 (7-5)
3. Jasmin Buchta (LU) def. Alexis Thoma (NT) 6-7 (5-7), 3-6
4. Haruka Sasaki (NT) def. Talisa Merchiers (LU) 1-6, 6-2 (10-7)
5. Laura Arciniegas (NT) def. Stephanie Marchena (LU) 6-1, 6-3
6. Alexandra Heczey (NT) def. Sanja Jolic (LU) 6-4, 6-2
1. Maria Kononova/Tamuna Kutubidze (NT) def. Katya Lapayeva/Anna Spengler (LU) 6-2
2. Alexis Thoma/Alexandra Heczey (NT) def. Talisa Merchiers/Stephanie Marchena (LU) 6-2
3. Haruka Sasaki/Laura Arciniegas (NT) vs. Jasmin Buchta/Hanna Elfving (LU) 3-5 (unfinished)