Mean Green Falls To Pioneers 4-2 In Semifinals


DENTON, Texas (4/19/09) - The North Texas tennis team gave everything it had, but it wasn't quite enough in a 4-2 loss to No. 1 seed Denver in the semifinals of the 2009 SBC Championships at the Waranch Tennis Complex on Sunday.

"We put ourselves in position to win, but Denver's experience payed off," said Mean Green head coach Sujay Lama. "I was proud of the way we hung with them and showed toughness. This match can only make us better down the line. I am looking forward to the opportunities with this team next year."  

After defeating Troy on Saturday, No. 4 seed North Texas (17-6, 2-1) was primed to knock off nationally-ranked Denver (No. 34) in the semis.

The score was tied at 2 after Paula Dinuta and Amy Joubert each won their singles matches. Paula snagged the first point for NT with a 6-4, 6-3 victory over Julia Bauregger from the four spot.

"I was calm and stayed relaxed in this match," said Dinuta. "My groundstroke was good and I was able to get my opponent (Bauregger) out of position."

Joubert then took her singles match against Bhavani Tirumurti in two tiebreakers. Amy won the first 7-6 (8-6) and the second in a long and strenuous tiebreak 7-6 (12-10).

Unfortunately, that's all the Mean Green could muster. DU's Annette Aksdal beat Madura Ranganathan at the second spot 6-4, 6-4 to make the score 3-2 before the No. 66 player in the country, Mallory Volker, won a three set match against NT freshman Irina Paraschiv in No. 1 singles. Voelker prevailed in the initial set 6-4 and Paraschiv fought back to grab the second 6-3. But, Mallory took control in the third to win 6-2 securing the match for the Pioneers. Voelker had just lost one singles match all year as she sported an 18-1 record going into today.    

The Mean Green fought in doubles against the Pioneers but came up short. At the No. 3 spot, Paula Dinuta and Irina Paraschiv had a tough time versus Annette Aksdal and Bhavani Tirumurti as DU won 8-3. The top team of Amy Joubert and Madura Ranganathan were tied at 3 games apiece before Mallory Voelker and Kyla Iwninski won five of the next six games for an 8-4 decision.

The match lasted for over four and a half hours. Denver (16-4) moves on to face FIU in the SBC Tournament finals.

The 2008-09 North Texas tennis team enjoyed one of its best seasons in program history. The squad reached its highest win total (17) since 1984-85 and earned the second best all-time winning percentage (.739). The team also rode a 10 match win streak into the conference semifinals. The Mean Green picked up victories along the way against UTEP, New Mexico State, Central Florida, Rice, and Troy. Freshmen Irina Paraschiv and Paula Dinuta were selected SBC Women’s Players of the Week. Six players reached double digit wins including four who had at least 14 victories. The future looks bright for NT as seven of the nine total players on this squad were freshmen and sophomores.


North Texas Mean Green