Mean Green Begin Important Stretch Of Big Matches
North Texas Hosts Iowa on Saturday
DENTON — The North Texas tennis team begins a stretch of games where they will play four consecutive power-five schools and then follow that up against a very competitive FIU team.
The Mean Green (2-1) start this streak of games at home on Saturday versus Iowa (3-1) at noon.
“Preparation doesn’t change,” said captain Maria Kononova. “The main thing is to stay focused and motivated. If everyone is on the same page, our winning streak will continue and we will have some nice wins.”
North Texas is coming off a dominant 5-2 home-opening win over Louisiana Tech last Saturday where they were without Kononova, their No. 1 singles and doubles player and the No. 42 nationally ranked singles player.
Due to a heavy fall schedule, Kononova was forced to sit out the Mean Green’s match against LA Tech.
“It was really strange to be outside of the court the whole match,” Kononova who is undefeated thus far said. “I was trying to put all my energy in supporting the team and I knew they could get it done without me.”
Saturday versus Iowa will be the first time this season North Texas will likely feature its entire lineup.
“The best part of our lineup is that we have great players in and out and our lineup is deep,” Kononova said. “Everyone can play great tennis. If there is a need to change we are confident in each other.”
A week after hosting Iowa, North Texas hits the road and travels to Kansas State who they will play on Feb. 9. They will remain in Manhattan, Kansas, to play Washington State on Feb. 10. Following those matches, the Mean Green remain on the road where they will travel to Oklahoma on Feb. 14 before returning home on Feb. 23 to host FIU. The Panthers reached the Conference USA championship match last year and feature Andrea Lazaro, the No. 3 ranked player in the country.
“Coach Lama has been very happy with how we have been working this week,” Kononva said. “He wants us to keep being hungry for wins and give our best every single point. If we keep having the same attitude we will have a great time on the court.”
Winning the doubles point will be huge for North Texas on Saturday. The Mean Green won the doubles point last Saturday versus LA Tech and it propelled them to their 5-2 win. Kononova and her doubles partner Tamuna Kutubidze are the No. 36 ranked doubles team in the country but have had their two matches this season go unfinished.
Iowa doesn’t have any ranked singles players or a doubles team but has picked up some big wins in both the fall and spring season.
Iowa picked up their first dual match loss of the year last week in a neutral site 5-2 loss to Washington State on Sunday.
North Texas' Waranch Tennis Complex is located at 1499 S Bonnie Brae St, Denton, TX 76207