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Confident tennis team heads to College Station
Caitlyn Alvarado / Staff Writer
After bringing home three flight championships last weekend in Florida, the Mean Green tennis team will head to College Station this weekend to compete against Texas A&M University, the University of Minnesota and the University of Arizona in the Intercollegiate Tennis Association Kick-off.
This weekend will be the second time in program history that the team has been invited to compete in the ITA Kick-off. A team qualifies for the event by being ranked in the top 75 in the country. UNT is currently ranked No. 54, and this is the first year it has started the season as a ranked school.
“This is a huge opportunity for us,” head coach Sujay Lama said. “We are geared up to play A&M first, and they are one of the top teams in the country, but this is a match we are all looking forward to.”
No. 13 TAMU is the highest-ranked opponent the Mean Green will take on this weekend. The Aggies came in 4th place in the Miami Spring Invite last week behind the No. 9 University of Miami, No. 25 Vanderbilt University and the No. 11 University of Texas.
“We are at a point in our program where it doesn’t matter who is on the other side,” Lama said. “We respect everyone and fear no one.”
Sophomore Franziska Sprinkmeyer brought back two of the three championships last weekend.
“We all want to play our best and fight through adversity,” Sprinkmeyer said. “But our final goal is to win.”
Last week, No. 30 Arizona beat both Northern Arizona University and the University of California-Davis.
No. 41 Minnesota has also built up some recent confidence, defeating Marquette University and the University of Montana last week.
All four teams are coming into this weekend with a number of wins under their belts.
“I hate the phrase, ‘we have nothing to lose,’” Lama said. “When you play, you always have something to lose, but this weekend we have a lot to gain.”
After the Florida Gulf Coast Invitational, Lama wanted to work diligently on doubles, so the team practiced that, along with aggressiveness and execution.
“There’s no doubt that we got what we wanted in Florida,” Lama said. “There were times we let them slip through, when we should have put our pedal to the metal.”
For senior team captain Barbora Vykydalova, school rankings do not matter, and this weekend is all about working hard and working together.
“We work hard every time no matter who we are playing,” Vykydalova said. “We want to win and that’s what we are focusing on.”
The team will begin play Saturday at a time to be decided.