Tennis Takes Down LA Tech At Home, 4-1
North Texas Defeats Conference Foe, Remains Undefeated At Home
Senior captain Agustina Valenzuela clinched a 4-1 win against Louisiana Tech on Saturday. (Photo by Rick Yeatts)
DENTON — North Texas tennis coach Sujay Lama has been counting on his team to grow from early season adversity. The Mean Green showed signs of doing that as the team broke a four-match losing streak in a 4-1 win over Louisiana Tech on Saturday.
In it’s first match in more than two weeks versus a school that wasn’t ranked or in a Power 5 conference, North Texas (2-4) gave up only one point to pick up its second victory from the Waranch Tennis Complex this season. The win broke LA Tech's four-match win streak.
The Mean Green’s success started early as it took the day’s doubles point in a neck-and-neck trio of matches. Freshmen Maria Kononova and Tamuna Kutubidze starting things off at the No. 1 spot by defeating Techsters Zoe Chen and Alex Starkova, 6-3. But a loss of that same score from junior Alexis Thoma and freshman Minying Liang meant the No. 3 team of seniors Agustina Valenzuela and Anastasiya Shestakova would decide the tiebreaker. A 6-4 victory from two of the team’s top leaders put the first point on the board for North Texas.
“Winning the doubles point was very important today and it helped us apply pressure the entire match,” Lama said at the day’s conclusion.
The home team capitalized on the early momentum, something it hadn’t been able to do in its recent losses, and - as in doubles play - it was spurred by the Mean Green’s seniors.
Kamilla Galieva was the first singles finisher on the team after taking down Techster senior Manoela Chiacchio by a score of 6-3, 6-2. Playing at the No. 1 spot, freshman Maria Kononova gave another win to North Texas with her 6-1, 4-6, 6-3 victory over LA Tech senior Alexandra Starkova. Clinching the match for the Mean Green was senior captain Agustina Valenzuela, who took the win in a gritty fight with sophomore Alba Escalona Perny; 6-3, 1-6, 6-4.
“Today was a very good day for our team,” Valenzuela said. “We’ve had some rough matches recently but today we closed the match out. I’m proud of my teammates for fighting and giving their best.”
North Texas will now look to continue the momentum in another noon start time tomorrow. While his sights are set forward, Lama concluded by commending the team’s leaders one last time.
“It was good to have the seniors step up and finish strong,” Lama said.”Kamila got off to a fast start and [Agustina] did a great job of finishing.”
North Texas will have a quick turnaround for tomorrow’s match against Oklahoma. First serve against the No. 36 Sooners is set for noon on Sunday from the Waranch Tennis Complex in Denton.
No. 1 Maria Kononova def. Alexandra Starkova; 6-1, 4-6, 6-3
No. 2 Tamuna Kutubidze vs. Jazmin Britos; 6-7(4), 7-5 (unfinished)
No. 3 Anastasiya Shestakova vs. Zoe Chen; 6-0, 4-6, 1-2 (unfinished)
No. 4 Alexis Thoma falls to Marta Sramkova; 6-0, 6-4
No. 5 Kamilla Galieva def. Mano Chiacchio; 6-3, 6-2
No. 6 Agustina Valenzuela def. Alba Perny; 6-3, 1-6, 6-4
No. 1 Kononova/Kutubidze def. Chen/Starkova, 6-3
No. 2 Liang/Thoma fall to Britos/Sramkova, 6-3
No. 3 Valenzuela/Shestakova def. Merker/Chiacchio, 6-4