Tennis Hopes To Extend Season At C-USA Championships
North Texas Takes No. 71 ITA Ranking, Third Seed To Murfreesboro
Conference USA Championship
Adams Tennis Complex | Murfreesboro, TN
Hosted by Middle Tennessee
First Round Matchup
No. 71 (#3) North Texas vs. (#14) UAB
Thursday, April 21 | 12 p.m. CT
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DENTON — The North Texas tennis team kicks off play in the 2016 Conference USA Championship this week from the Adams Tennis Center in Murfreesboro, Tennessee. Entering the showdown as the league’s third seed, the No. 71 Mean Green will face 14th-seeded UAB at 12 p.m. on Thursday, April 21.
The Blazers are 7-14 on the year, dropping their last five matchups. Junior Catherine Ragon leads UAB in singles with a 9-8 record, primarily at the three spot, and the No. 1 tandem of Pardis Kianoush and Elaine Simon have a team-leading 12 victories on the season.
North Texas (11-9) has pieced together its best tennis of the year in recent weeks and enters postseason play after winning five of its last six matches. Most recently, the Mean Green took down No. 59 UT Arlington, 4-1, to move back into the nation’s top-75 poll on Saturday.
The team’s recent success has been due in large part to the Mean Green’s singles depth. At the No. 2 position, freshman Tamuna Kutubidze enters C-USA’s premier event on a six-match win streak, and she joins seniors Agustina Valenzuela and Anastasiya Shestakova in leading the team with 11 singles wins in the dual season.
The Mean Green and Blazers last faced off in Denton last March, a match in which North Texas won, 5-2, from its home court. The winner of Thursday’s contest will play the winner of No. 6 Louisiana Tech and No. 11 Charlotte at 2 p.m. on Friday.
For more information on the C-USA Championship, visit the league’s tournament central page.
What They’re Saying
Coach Lama on his seniors: “At this time of the year it’s always a little emotional. The seniors become a part of your life, a part of your family after you share this intense 3-4 years of time together. Every year when seniors leave, it is my hope that they’ve made the program better. When I look back at these seniors, I think the word that would describe them is ‘professional.’ They took their jobs as student-athletes seriously and they’ve raised the bar. That’s all you can ask of your seniors and we hope to do something special for them at the conference tournament.”
Captain Agu Valenzuela on potentially her final weekend of collegiate tennis: “It’s hard to think that this could be the last time I will be playing with my team. It’s been an amazing four years and I am ready to give my all. Everyone needs to be invested in playing their best, and if we are committed we will get the win.”
First Round - Thursday, April 21
Match 1: (4) Old Dominion vs. (13) UTSA - 9 a.m.
Match 2: (7) Southern Miss vs. (10) UTEP – 9 a.m.
Match 3: (5) Marshall vs. (12) Florida Atlantic - 12 p.m.
Match 4: (3) North Texas vs. (14) UAB – 12 p.m.
Match 5: (8) Middle Tennessee vs. (9) WKU – 3 p.m.
Match 6: (6) Louisiana Tech vs. (11) Charlotte – 3 p.m.
Quarterfinals - Friday, April 22
Match 7: Match 5 winner vs. (1) FIU - 10 a.m.
Match 8: Match 2 winner vs. (2) Rice - 10 a.m.
Match 9: Match 1 winner vs. Match 3 winner - 2 p.m.
Match 10: Match 4 winner vs. Match 6 winner – 2 p.m.
Semifinals - Saturday, April 23
Match 11: Match 7 winner vs. Match 9 winner - 12 p.m.
Match 12: Match 8 winner vs. Match 10 winner - 12 p.m.
Championship - Sunday, April 24
Match 13: Match 11 winner vs. Match 12 winner - 10 a.m.