Tennis Breezes By UAB Blazers at Windy Waranch
Three Mean Green Players Go Undefeated in 5-2 Victory
DENTON -- Nothing like a little home cooking.
Beginning with UAB on March 25, the North Texas tennis team will finish its season with five of the final six matches at the friendly confines of Waranch Tennis Complex. The Mean Green defeated the Blazers on Wednesday, 5-2, to get its prolonged homestead started off right, while improving to 5-10 on the season and 1-1 in Conference USA play.
With so many close losses this spring, head coach Sujay Lama had a few specific things for the team to think about as they prepared to face UAB.
"Our energy and competitive spirit was great today," he noted. "We challenged the team to have a champion's mindset and to play with an edge. The ladies responded and I'm so proud of them."
That edge began early in doubles play. The No. 1 team of Kseniya Bardabush and Franziska Sprinkmeyer started the scoring with an 8-3 win over UAB's Paula Castro and Caroline Faught; it was the duo's third win in its past four completed matches. On Court 3, Ana Sofia Cordero and Agustina Valenzuela also finished off their opponents by a score of 8-3 to clinch the doubles point for North Texas. The Cordero and Valenzuela pair improved to a team-best 8-5 mark on the season.
North Texas continued its strong play into singles, as Valenzuela took care of Castro 6-2, 6-2 at the No. 3 position. With the Mean Green ahead 2-0, it was the seniors' time to shine. At No. 1 singles, Bardabush defeated Pardis Kianoush 6-2, 6-4 to clinch the third point, then at No. 6 singles Sprinkmeyer notched a 7-5, 6-0 win over Catherine Ragon to secure a victory for the Mean Green.
Anastasiya Shestakova earned her fourth-consecutive win at No. 2 singles with a 7-6 (4), 6-3 result against UAB's Rachel Daniell to boost the overall score to 5-0. The Blazers got both of their points late, as Kamilla Galieva fell to Amy Lowther at No. 5 and Alexis Thoma lost to Elaine Simon at No. 4.
One of the advantages of playing in Denton is familiarity with the local weather. On Wednesday, the temperature was in the 80's, but a 20-mile per hour wind persisted throughout the afternoon. Throughout the day, one side of the court had a direct headwind, while the other had a tailwind. Valenzuela said North Texas embraced the wind and used it as a strength against the Blazers.
"I felt very comfortable even though it was windy," she said. "We're kind of used to the wind and other teams aren't used to it, so I think it played in our favor."
Considering the team was 7-4 at Waranch Tennis Complex last season, and improved to 2-2 this season at home with the 5-2 win, the Mean Green is excited to continue to play in a familiar setting. North Texas continues the homestead on March 27, when No. 75 Kansas comes to town. That match will begin at 3 p.m. on Friday.
1. Bardabush/Sprinkmeyer defeat Castro/Faught, 8-3
2. Shestakova/Thoma vs. Kianoush/Simon goes unfinished, 6-3
3. Cordero/Valenzuela defeat Daniell/Lowther, 8-3
1. Bardabush defeats Kianoush, 6-2, 6-4
2. Shestakova defeats Daniell, 7-6 (4), 6-3
3. Valenzuela defeats Castro, 6-2, 6-2
4. Thoma loses to Simon, 5-7, 6-3, 11-9
5. Galieva loses to Lowther, 6-2, 7-6 (6)
6. Sprinkmeyer defeats Ragon, 7-5, 6-0