Mean Green Return To Compete In Oklahoma Invite, ITA All-American
North Texas Playing On A National Stage
DENTON - The North Texas tennis team will play in two separate tournaments this weekend and early next week.
Six of the eight Mean Green women will travel to the University of Oklahoma in Norman to compete in the Sooner Invitational starting Friday. Meanwhile, North Texas sophomores Tamuna Kutubidze and Maria Kononova are headed to Los Angeles to play in the ITA Women's All-American Championships at the Riviera Tennis Club beginning Monday.
"Tumuna and Maria are working very hard every day and have shown they don't just want to be good they want to be great," North Texas head coach Sujay Lama said. "This is an opportunity for them to compete against the best. And for those going to Oklahoma, this of course is another opportunity to get better and prepare for the spring."
Friday, the Mean Green will begin the Sooner Invitational with doubles play as sophomore Laura Arciniegas and freshman Alex Heczey pair up. North Texas will also feature a doubles tandem of senior Alexis Thoma with freshman Ivana Babic and sophomore Minying Liang with freshman Haruka Sasaki. This will be Liang's first competition of the 2016-17 season.
North Texas will face stiff competition in Oklahoma. Along with the Sooners, they will match up against Kansas State, SMU and Tulsa, among others.
Singles also starts Friday and all six North Texas women are competing.
"Growth and toughness," Lama said. "Every day that's what I want to see from these women. I want to see improvement in those areas, in the physical and mental toughness. And I think they're headed in that direction."
Kutubidze and Kononova are scheduled to compete in the ITA All-American Championship doubles tournament. Kutubidze is a second alternate for pre-qualifications in singles, which begins Saturday. Kutubidize and Kononova have already qualified for doubles, which starts Monday.
If Kutubidze and Kononova reach the main draw doubles finals or main draw consolation championship, they will receive automatic entry into the 2016 USTA/ITA National Indoor Intercollegiate Championship held in November at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Flushing, New York.
"For them to have this opportunity to go to a national stage and see the best of the best, it's going to motivate them and inspire them," Lama said. "They're as good as anyone out there and they'll see that this week."
Mean Green fans can watch Kutubidze and Kononova on flotennis.com or on Twitter @MeanGreenTennis