Tennis Once Again Takes Over In Singles Play For 4-2 Victory
North Texas Storms Back From Doubles Loss To Defeat Liberty Lady Flames
LYNCHBURG, Va. — The No. 73 North Texas tennis team has shown no sign of slowing down since dropping four matches on the road earlier this season. On Sunday, the Mean Green won their fourth straight dual with a 4-2 win over the Liberty Lady Flames from the Cook Tennis Center.
For the second straight match, the Mean Green win comes after the visiting team fell in the team portion of the day before controlling singles play. Usually a dominant doubles team, North Texas instead depended on four singles wins to clinch the match and their fifth victory of the year.
"I am really proud of the way we competed today and the poise we showed in both matches this weekend,” head coach Sujay Lama said. “Our goal was to close out matches on the road and we accomplished it."
Liberty (3-5) got off to the start it wanted in doubles, as the duo of Anna Dollar and Maria Khval took down seniors Anastasiya Shestakova and Agustina Valenzuela, 6-4, before Rebekah Anderson and Aleksandra Panchenko defeated freshmen Minying Liang and Laura Arciniegas, 6-2. The No. 1 doubles dual featuring freshmen Maria Kononova and Tamuna Kutubidze went unfinished with the North Texas players holding a 5-4 advantage.
But Lama’s squad was able to quickly bounce back thanks to a dominant singles performance from Kononova at the No. 1 spot, who sealed a 6-2, 6-1 victory over Khval to tie the match and energize the Mean Green roster. A 6-0, 6-4 win for fellow freshman Kutubidze over Belen Rivera gave North Texas its first lead of the day, and the team wouldn’t look back.
From there, the team’s seniors stole the show by clinching the final two singles wins. Playing at the fifth position, Galieva took down Emily Groeneveld; 6-2, 6-0. Liberty was able to escape with a singles win at the No. 3 position before Valenzuela, the Mean Green captain, clinched North Texas’s victory with her 6-1, 4-6, 6-3 win against Thong.
Fresh off the win, Lama & Co. are eager to step on the court for another test next weekend.
"We need to clean up a few things in doubles and get ready for a big weekend ahead of us,” Lama concluded. “The great thing is that this team is hungry and motivated. We want to keep on rolling."
North Texas stays on the road for a pair of matches next weekend, beginning with a dual against Tulsa at 4 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 26, from Tulsa, Oklahoma.
• No. 1 Maria Kononova def. Maria Khval; 6-2, 6-1
• No. 2 Tamuna Kutubidze def. Belen Rivera; 6-0, 6-4
• No. 3 Anastasiya Shestakova falls to Anna Dollar; 2-6, 6-2, 6-2
• No. 4 Alexis Thoma vs. Evangeline Crist; 7-6(5), 6-5 (unfinished)
• No. 5 Kamilla Galieva def. Emily Groeneveld; 6-2, 6-0
• No. 6 Agustina Valenzuela def. Valerie Thong; 6-1, 4-6, 6-3
• No. 1 Kononova/Kutubidze vs. Crist/Thong, 5-4 (unfinished)
• No. 2 Valenzuela/Shestakova fall to Dollar/Khval, 6-4
• No. 3 Liang/Arciniegas fall to Anderson/Panchenko, 6-2