Mean Green Tennis Heads To Memphis
North Texas Looks To Hand Memphis First Home Loss
MEMPHIS, TN. — After a nearly two week break, the North Texas tennis team returns to the courts Saturday with just three matches remaining before they host the Conference USA Championship.
The Mean Green (6-11) are at the University of Memphis for a Saturday morning match against the Tigers (10-5) who have not lost a regular season home match in over a year.
The match is scheduled to begin at 10 a.m. and can be followed with live stats here.
“It was great to have a block of time to get everyone healthy and work on some fundamentals,” said North Texas head coach Sujay Lama. “We haven’t had this kind of break all year and it comes at a perfect time. We really feel like we’re building momentum headed into the final stretch.”
The week and a half break comes on the heels of the Mean Green hosting four matches in eight days. Despite losing their last of those matches to the nationally ranked Kansas Jayhawks, Lama felt his young team put together its best performance and was extremely pleased with the effort and competitiveness they showed.
“Things are starting to come together,” Lama said. “We are building real momentum headed into the conference championship, which is exactly what we want. We have the talent to really do something special if we get hot in the championship.”
For the first time in a while, if not all season, North Texas finally has a completely healthy roster and has been able to consistently put together what Lama believes to be their best lineup.
At the top of the lineup all year has been sophomore Maria Kononova who has won five singles matches in a row and has a record of 14-2 at No. 1. She is one singles win away from setting the school record for wins in the dual spring season.
In the back end of the rotation, sophomore Minying Liang has started to find her groove. Liang is 5-2 at No. 5 and has split time playing at the No. 4 spot as well. She has won seven of her last 10 matches and five of her last seven. She had one of the bravest sets of the year when North Texas hosted Kansas, coming back from a 5-1 deficit to send it into a tiebreaker.
Throughout the year, though, the Mean Green have thrived in the beginning of matches with their doubles play. North Texas has won the doubles point 10 times.
Kononova and her sophomore doubles partner Tamuna Kutubidze are 12-0 this season in doubles at No. 1. At No. 2, senior Alexis Thoma and freshman Alexandra Heczey have found rhythm with one another, winning five of their last eight matches that have finished.
“We believe we’ve got the rotation down and this group is motivated to do big things,” Lama said. “Saturday is a tremendous opportunity for us to continue to build on all of it.”