Resilient Mean Green Take Down Arizona
North Texas Wins 5-2
DENTON – The North Texas women’s tennis team outlasted Arizona and won 5-2 on Saturday afternoon at the Waranch Tennis Complex.
The Mean Green (5-7) secured an early 1-0 lead by taking the doubles point with wins at No. 1 and No. 3. The Wildcats (8-2) tied the match at 2-2 with singles wins at No. 1 and No, 3, but stellar play at No. 4, 5, and 6 propelled North Texas to victory.
“It’s huge for this team, because we’ve endured some tough losses,” head coach Sujay Lama said. “The key today was to be resilient. Our kids were dialed in because they wanted it so bad and they deserve it after working hard all year long. We need wins and their hard work is being rewarded.”
Minying Liang and Ivana Babic played exceptionally well at No. 3 doubles, defeating Arizona’s Maria Van Aelst and Maggie Cohen, 6-1. Maria Kononova and Tamuna Kutubidze continued their commanding doubles run and defeated Lauren Marker and Paris Corley, 6-1. Alexis Thoma and Alexandra Heczey trailed 3-4 when their match went unfinished.
In singles play, Kutubidze made quick work of Corley at No. 2 and won 6-3, 6-3. At No. 1, Kononova experienced more troubles after losing her first match of the season on Friday afternoon. Marker, No. 27 in the ITA rankings, defeated Kononova, 6-4, 6-4.
“I wasn’t feeling the ball very well today,” Kononova said. “I had chances to get back, but she hit great shots in important moments. That’s why she’s ranked where she is and she used opportunities better than I did.”
Arizona’s Devin Chypyha tied the contest with her win over Alexis Thoma, 6-2, 6-2. However, Alexandra Heczey’s 6-4, 6-4 win over Van Aelst pushed North Texas to a 3-2 lead.
Liang and Haruka Sasaki each won their first sets at No. 5 and No. 6 singles, but Camila Wesbrooks and Cohen took the second sets to close the gap and set up a nail-biting finish.
Liang, battling rough conditions and playing through pain all afternoon, defeated Wesbrooks with a 6-3 third-set win and clinched the match for the Mean Green.
“Minying showed her maturity and refused to lose today,” Lama said. “There were moments that she could have given up and in the past she may have folded. I wanted her to stay engaged and she did that.”
“I’m happy to get the win,” said Liang. “I started to feel leg pain set in during the second set, but I knew I had to keep going for my team. This one means very much to me.”
North Texas hits the road for the first time in over two weeks for a matchup against TCU on Wednesday at 5:30 p.m. at the Bayard H. Friedman Tennis Center in Ft. Worth.
- Lauren Marker (AZ) def. Maria Kononova (NT) 6-4, 6-4
- Tamuna Kutubidze (NT) def. Paris Corley (AZ) 6-3, 6-3
- Devin Chypyha (AZ) def. Alexis Thoma (NT) 6-2, 6-2
- Alexandra Heczey (NT) def. Maria Van Aelst (AZ) 6-4, 6-4
- Minying Liang (NT) def. Camila Wesbrooks (AZ) 6-3, 5-7, 6-3
- Haruka Sasaki (NT) def. Maggie Cohen (AZ) 6-2, 4-6, 6-1
- Maria Kononova/Tamuna Kutubidze (NT) def. Lauren Marker/Paris Corley (AZ) 6-1
- Alexis Thoma/Alexandra Heczey (NT) vs. Devin Chypyha/Camila Wesbrooks (AZ) 3-4 unfinished
- Minying Liang/Ivana Babic (NT) def. Maria Van Aelst/Maggie Cohen (AZ) 6-1