Mean Green Return To Friendly Home Confines
North Texas Hosts Home Openers This Weekend
DENTON — The North Texas women’s tennis team hosts its first two matches of the 2017 dual season on Saturday and Sunday.
The Mean Green (0-1) take on the Big Ten’s Michigan State (2-0) for the first time in program history on Saturday at 1 p.m. Then on Sunday, North Texas welcomes Lamar (1-1) to the Waranch Tennis Complex at 11:00 a.m.
Under Lama, the Mean Green have won 75 percent of their home matches, posting a 66-22 record. The team hasn’t lost at Waranch since April 1, 2015, when they took on No. 17 TCU. North Texas’ only designated home lost last year was at Bent Tree Country Club in Dallas.
“We have great fans and a great community who supports us,” said head coach Sujay Lama. “When we are at home we are energized by them and we want to win for them. It of course also helps we know our courts and are familiar and comfortable there.”
Last week North Texas began the season on the road with likely its toughest opponent of year in No. 5 Oklahoma State. The Mean Green lost 7-0 but received impressive contributions from a variety of players, which has carried confidence over to this weekend’s set of matches.
“Our team is inspired and feeling good right now,” Lama said. “We’re focused on ourselves and making sure we are always getting better and improving.”
Sophomore Laura Arciniegas has played exceptionally well as of late. The Columbia native played in the No. 4 spot in Stillwater — her highest position since arriving to Denton — and took her nationally ranked opponent to a super tiebreaker before eventually losing. Arciniegas won the second set of that match 6-4.
Also playing at a high-level is sophomore Maria Kononova.
She and her doubles team partner Alexandra Heczey were up 4-3 against the 11th ranked national doubles team until the match was called and unfinished following the conclusion of the other two doubles matches.
Guiding the young Mean Green team is their lone senior Alexis Thoma, who Lama described as an intense but in control leader.
“Alexis has taken charge,” Lama said. “This is her team and the rest of the team more than respects her, because they see how hard she works.”
Thoma made her debut at No. 2 at Oklahoma State. She has won 24 singles matches at North Texas.
Since Lama took over the program in 2006, the Mean Green own a 1-0 record versus the Big Ten conference and is 4-0 versus Lamar.