Tennis Bringing Adjustments Out Of Mid-Season Break
After 16-Day Hiatus, Team Is Set For Three Matches In Five Days
Head coach Sujay Lama used a 16-day break to make adjustments to the team's doubles lineup. (Photo by Rick Yeatts)
No. 73 North Texas (7-8) vs. Memphis (1-12)
Friday, April 1, 2016 | 3 p.m.
Waranch Tennis Complex | Denton, TX
Mean Green vs. UTSA (10-9)
Sunday, April 3, 2016 | 12 p.m.
Waranch Tennis Complex | Denton, TX
Mean Green at SMU (9-8)
Tuesday, April 5, 2016 | 5 p.m.
SMU Tennis Complex | Dallas, TX
DENTON — Sixteen days is quite the span between collegiate tennis matches, but it could be exactly what the North Texas tennis team needed as it prepares for the final five matches of its regular season schedule.
After more than two weeks, the Mean Green will be back in action for three matches in five days, beginning with a contest against Memphis at 3 p.m. on Friday, April 1, from the Waranch Tennis Complex. The team will then take on UTSA and SMU on Sunday and Tuesday, respectively.
“Now is the time to build momentum going into conference,” head coach Sujay Lama said. “You want to be heading into the tournament with a lot of confidence and positivity, and these last two weeks are going to help with that. We got the rest we needed and we’ve had a lot of time to really work on our game, our fitness and our movement.”
Perhaps the biggest positive in the extended break, however, came in the form of adjustments to the team’s doubles lineup. With a 5-10 overall record in doubles play this season, the Mean Green have found themselves playing from behind in the majority of its matches. With the extra time off, Lama’s staff looked to revitalize its doubles duos, and the team will feature four new player combinations in Friday’s matchup.
“We could never really find that consistency that I hoped for with our doubles teams,” Lama said. “It was difficult to make changes because we had so many matches and we didn’t really have the convenience of time to look at things thoroughly.
“I think you’re going to see a really cohesive group of doubles teams this weekend,” he added. “All four pairs will have a good balance of experience and youth. I expect us to play more to win as opposed to playing not to lose. To this point on the year, I think maybe we’ve had two defensive people on a team or two offensive-minded people on a team and that may have affected our consistency.”
The all-new pairings will be put to the test on Friday against a Memphis team that is just 1-12 on the year. The team visits Denton on a 12-match losing streak. To make matters worse, injuries have left the Tigers with only five players, meaning North Texas will start off with at least one singles win and one doubles win.
Sunday’s opponent, UTSA, will be the second Conference USA opponent to face off against the Mean Green this season after North Texas took down Louisiana Tech, 4-1, on February 13. The Roadrunners are 10-9 on the year, having won four of their last five matchups. Impressive singles play leads UTSA, as three different players have 10 individual wins on the year. That group is led by an 11-5 mark from Jacobea Junger, who has played at the two and three spots.
The Mean Green's marathon weekend will conclude with a road contest against metroplex rival SMU on Tuesday. The Mustangs enter the weekend with a 9-8 record and are led by its doubles play. The duo of Vaszilisza Bulgakova and Hristina Dishkova are the 52nd-ranked duo in the nation after putting together a 9-4 record on the year.