LAFAYETTE, La. (4/21/13) - The No. 60 North Texas tennis team won its second consecutive Sun Belt Conference Championship on Sunday with a 4-2 victory over No. 2 seed Georgia State.
"I am so happy for these ladies and so proud of each one of them," head coach Sujay Lama said "They fought their hearts out and believed in their preparation and hard work. It was a total team effort to bring home the championship."
The Mean Green (18-5, 6-0) won its sixth-straight doubles point with wins at the No. 2 and 3 doubles matches against Georgia State (8-13).
Dané Joubert and Ilona Serhcneko handed Jocelyn Ffriend and Linn Timmermann an 8-3 loss at the No. 3 doubles spot. Sophomore duo Kseniya Bardabush and Franziska Sprinkmeyer then dropped just two points in an 8-2 win over Whitney Byrd and Maryna Kozachenko at the No. 2 doubles position.
Linn Timmermann tied with match for the Panthers defeating Franziska Sprinkmeyer 6-3, 6-3 at the No. 4 singles position. Seconds later Valentina Starkova defeated Whitney Byrd in straight sets, 6-1, 7-5, at the No. 3 singles spot to give North Texas a 2-1.
Bardabush fell to Georgia State's Abigail Tere-Apisah 7-5, 6-3 at the top singles spot to tie to score at 2-2.
North Texas seniors Serchenko and Barbora Vykydalova didn't give up. Serchenko handed Georgia State's Chaimaa Roudami a 6-4, 6-3 loss at the No. 5 singles position giving North Texas a 3-2 lead.
After falling behind 7-5 to Mesa Grgan in the first set, Vykydalova came out strong to win the second 6-4. She would then ride the momentum to win the final set, 6-1, to clinch the match and the championship for the Mean Green.
"This was a great college match," Lama added. "Georgia State fought hard and made it tough for us. At the end, the experience of our seniors and fitness was what turned the tide on our favor."
Seniors Serchenko and Starkova were named to the 2013 Sun Belt Championships Women's All-Tournament Team as well as Vykydalova being named the Tournament Most Outstanding Player.
"I'm happy to be the Most Outstanding Player, it means so much to me," Vykydalova said. "We battled hard and our hard work paid off. Today was just the beginning and we are ready to make a statement at the NCAA tournament and represent North Texas."
North Texas will await the NCAA selection show for its seeding and destination for the NCAA First and Second Rounds.
No. 1 seed North Texas, No. 2 seed Georgia State
April 21, 2013
1. Abigail Tere-Apisah (GSU) def. Kseniya Bardabush (NT) 7-5, 6-3
2. Barbora Vykydalova (NT) def. Mesa Grgan (GSU) 5-7, 6-4, 6-1
3. Valentina Starkova (NT) def. Whitney Byrd (GSU) 6-1, 7-5
4. Linn Timmermann (GSU) def. Franziska Sprinkmeyer (NT) 6-3, 6-3
5. Ilona Serchenko (NT) def. Chaimaa Roudami (GSU) 6-4, 6-3
6. Agustina Valenzuela (NT) Maryna Kozachenko (GSU) 7-5, 4-6, 2-1, unfinished
1. Valentina Starkova/Barbora Vykydalova vs. Abigail Tere-Apisah/Masa Grgan (GSU) 5-6, unfinished
2. Kseniya Bardabush/Franziska Sprinkmeyer (NT) def. Whitney Byrd/Maryna Kozachenko (GSU) 8-2
3. Dané Joubert/Ilona Serchenko (NT) def. Jocelyn Ffriend/Linn Timmermann (GSU) 8-3
No. 60 North Texas: 18-5
Georgia State: 8-13
Order of Finish
Doubles: 3, 2
Singles: 4, 3, 1, 5, 2