Mean Green Show Growth In Loss To Tulsa
North Texas Loses 4-2
DALLAS —The North Texas women’s tennis team lost 4-2 to Tulsa Friday night at the Bent Tree Country Club in Dallas.
The Mean Green (1-3) began Friday’s match with tremendous energy and took a 1-0 lead over the top-30 ranked Hurricane after capturing the doubles point. However following the doubles point, the veteran Tulsa (6-1) team went on to win the first three singles points and eventually the match.
“We had a huge improvement in doubles,” head coach Sujay Lama said. “We played aggressive and with so much energy, especially the freshman pair. It’s a great sign moving forward.”
Making their first ever appearance together in doubles were North Texas freshmen Alexandra Heczey and Ivana Babić. The pair teamed up on No. 2 and defeated Tulsa’s doubles team 7-6(7-5) to clinch the doubles point.
“It was great to see,” Lama said. “If they can build chemistry they can be a force. They were so poised in big moments today. They fell behind, fought back and stuck together in the tiebreaker.”
Lama was especially pleased with Babić for staying resilient and ready to attack despite not being in the lineup recently.
“The freshmen understand what it takes,” Lama added.
In singles, North Texas came out strong but the experienced Tulsa team showed its age as they battled back and won the first three singles points to flip the script and take a 3-1 lead.
“I felt like we took our foot off the pedal,” Lama said. “Against a team like that you can’t do that. We had a chance to close the door and we didn’t.”
The Mean Green’s Maria Kononova won North Texas’ lone singles point. The sophomore has begun to find a groove. She has now won 13 of her last 15 singles matches dating back to October. Furthermore, she has won her last three singles matches at No. 1. Friday, she defeated Tulsa’s No. 1, 6-4, 2-6, 6-3.
“One of the best matches I’ve seen at North Texas,” the 11-year Mean Green head coach said. “They both were attacking and playing with such energy. It was great to see.”
North Texas’ nationally ranked doubles team of Tamuna Kutubidze and Kononova began Friday’s match with their third No. 1 doubles win of the year and 13th overall. Kutubidze and Kononova defeated the Hurricane’s No. 1 doubles team 6-3.
“It’s exciting to see a young team like this grow and show that they know what it takes,” Lama said. “This is another experienced and terrific team we played against. But we know it’s a process and we’re going to enjoy the process.”
- Kononova/Kutubidze (NT) def. Okalova/Laskutova (Tulsa); 6-3
- Heczey/Babić (NT) def. Leenabanchong/Matoula (Tulsa); 7-6(7-5)
- Thoma/Sasaki (NT) vs. Dadireddy/Cichon (Tulsa); Unfinished 5-6
- Kononova (NT) def. Laskutova (Tulsa); 6-4, 2-6, 6-3
- Leenabanchong (Tulsa) def. Kutubidze (NT); 2-6, 2-6
- Dadireddy (Tulsa) def. Thoma (NT); 5-7, 3-6
- Okalova (Tulsa) def. Sasaki (NT); 2-6, 2-6
- Matoula (Tulsa) def. Arciniegas (NT); 1-6, 1-6
- Heczey (NT) vs. Cichon (Tulsa); Unfinished 6-2, 4-0