Mean Green Lose A Heartbreaker To Washington State, 4-3
North Texas Comes Back From 3-0 Down
PLANO — The North Texas tennis team lost a heartbreaker Sunday afternoon to Washington State, 4-3.
The Mean Green fought their way back from a 3-0 hole to push the Cougars to the match’s final possible set. At No. 2, North Texas sophomore Tamuna Kutubidze batted Washington State’s Guzal Yusupova but fell 7-5 in the third set.
“Today our team gave an unbelievable effort,” said head coach Sujay Lama. “To be down 3-0 to a very good team and never give up and come all the way back says a lot about this team. We were so close.”
North Texas (2-6) lost the opening doubles point to the Cougars.
The Mean Green’s No. 1 doubles team of Maria Kononova and Tamuna Kutubidze improved to 5-0 on the year as they beat Washington State’s (7-2) No. 1, 6-1. At No. 2 and No. 3, North Texas played close but lost both matches to give the Cougars the early lead.
In singles, North Texas lost two matches early on No. 4 and No. 5, both in two sets, to give Washington State the 3-0 lead. Momentum wasn’t out of the Mean Green’s hand, though. On three of the four other courts, North Texas won the opening set and Kutubidze fought her way back in set number two to force the third set.
“Tamuna has been unbelievable,” Lama said. “This is just her fifth match back from injury and for her to compete like she did was great to see.”
After losing the second set, Kononova took care of business in the third set and gave North Texas its first point with a 6-3, 3-6, 6-1 win.
At No. 3, senior Alexis Thoma showed grit and toughness by winning one of the closest matches of the year for North Texas. Thoma won 7-5, 1-6, 7-5 to bring the Mean Green within a point. North Texas got that point from sophomore Laura Arciniegas who was at No. 6 on the court next to Kutubidze. Arciniegas got the fans into it with a few beautiful over the opponent’s head backline drop shots that were placed perfectly. With the energy on her side, the lefty won the tiebreaker and the match, 6-3, 3-6, 7-6(7-5). It’s her second win of the year.
Following the win, Arciniegas joined her team to cheer on Kutubidze who duked it out in the third set but lost.
“It’s tough and it hurts and we’re mad but you have to look at the big picture, “ Lama said. “In every match we’ve given our self a chance. Today, we showed an incredible ability to come back when we are down. I think this will help a lot as we move forward in the season.”
North Texas remains at home to face New Mexico State on Friday at 2 p.m.
MEAN GREEN QUICK HITS
- Kononova is one singles win away from matching her win total from last season.
- Kononova is now four wins away from setting a record for most wins under head coach Sujay Lama who is in his 11th season at North Texas. There are still 12 regular season matches to go.
- Kutubidze/Kononova are now 15-5 all-time at No. 1 doubles.
- Kutubidze/Kononova are nine doubles wins away from the top-5 in program history.
1. Maria Kononova (NT) def. Barbora Michalkova (WSU) 6-3, 3-6, 6-1
2. Guzal Yusupova (WSU) def. Tamuna Kutubidze (NT) 6-2, 3-6, 7-5
3. Alexis Thoma (NT) def. Victoria Matejevic (WSU) 5-7, 6-1, 7-5
4. Aneta Miksovska (WSU) def. Haruka Sasaki (NT) 6-2, 6-0
5. Melisa Ates (WSU) def. Alexandra Heczey (NT) 7-5, 6-0
6. Laura Arciniegas (NT) def. Lejla Colic (WSU) 6-3, 3-6, 7-6 (7-5)
1. Tamuna Kutubidze/Maria Kononova (NT) def. Barbora Michalkova/Victoria Matejevic (WSU) 6-1
2. Lejla Colic/Aneta Miksovska (WSU) def. Alexandra Heczey/Alexis Thoma (NT) 6-4
3. Melisa Ates/Guzal Yusupova (WSU) def. Laura Arciniegas/Haruka Sasaki (NT) 6-2