No. 66 ODU Edges Mean Green in Marathon Match
Tennis Season Ends With 4-3 Loss at C-USA Tournament
HOUSTON -- The North Texas tennis team fought for nearly five hours on Friday before eventually being edged by No. 66 Old Dominion, 4-3. In hopes of advancing to the semifinals of the Conference USA Tournament, the overall match was tied 3-3 when Franziska Sprinkmeyer and Ivana Vukovic went into the third set on Court 6.
In a back-and-forth barnburner that lasted almost four hours, Vukotic outlasted Sprinkmeyer 7-5, 5-7, 7-6 (3) to put the Lady Monarchs in the next round. It marked the end of a career for the senior from Northern, Germany, but one would be hard-pressed to find a more amazing performance in a losing effort.
"This one hurts because these ladies gave everything they had today," head coach Sujay Lama said. "It wasn't the ending we envisioned but I'm proud of the way we battled. It was a great match and you have to tip your hat to Old Dominion for coming through at the end."
The key to the match ended up being the doubles point, which was won by Old Dominion. Although Kseniya Bardabush and Sprinkmeyer won 8-2 on Court 1, the other two North Texas doubles teams lost and the Lady Monarchs jumped out to a 1-0 start.
But the Mean Green bounced back in singles, as Agustina Valenzuela opened things up with a 6-3, 6-4 victory over Marijana Novakovic at No. 4, then Kamilla Galieva followed with a 6-2, 6-3 win at the No. 5 position. Once Anastasiya Shestakova clinched a 6-3, 6-3 decision over Nikol Hristova, North Texas led 3-1 and needed only one more point to finish off Old Dominion.
After Alexis Thoma lost in straight sets to Ingrid Vojcinakova, that left only the two seniors on the court for the Mean Green. Bardabush would also play her final match at North Texas, as she faced a difficult opponent in No. 113 Borislava Botusharov at the No. 1 position. Botusharov defeated the senior from Lutsk, Ukraine 6-2, 7-5 to tie the match at three and leave it up to the result at No. 6 singles.
"My heart aches for the seniors," Lama explained. "Kseniya and Franziska have been terrific student-athletes and helped put North Texas tennis on the map. We will miss them and wish them the very best."
The Mean Green dropped its fifth 4-3 decision of the season and finished the 2015 campaign with a 9-14 record. Bardabush and Sprinkmeyer wrap up their collegiate careers with a combined 102 singles victories and two Sun Belt Conference Tournament championships.
1. Bardabush/Sprinkmeyer defeat Botusharov/Rajkovic, 8-2
2. Shestakova/Thoma lose to Hristova/Novakovic, 8-2
3. Cordero/Valenzuela lose to Vojcinakova/Vukovic, 8-4
1. Bardabush loses to No. 113 Botusharov, 6-2, 7-5
2. Shestakova defeats Hristova, 6-3, 6-3
3. Thoma loses to Vojcinakova, 6-4, 6-3
4. Valenzuela defeats Novakovic, 6-3, 6-4
5. Galieva defeats Rajkovic, 6-2, 6-3
6. Sprinkmeyer loses to Vukovic, 7-5, 5-7, 7-6 (3)