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Tennis dominates home openers
Caitlyn Alvarado / Staff Writer
It was a winning weekend for the Mean Green tennis team as it defeated Old Dominion University 6-1 on Saturday and then swept Lamar University 7-0 on Sunday.
Head coach Sujay Lama was proud that UNT had a win in its first home match of the dual match season.
“We only have nine opportunities at home to play in front of our family and friends and we need to really enjoy it and embrace it,” Lama said. “We protect the house because we don’t want anyone to come and beat us and we take pride in our place.”
Sophomores Kseniya Bardabush and Franziska Sprinkmeyer defeated the ODU duo of senior Diana Ivanova and freshman Nikol Hristova 6-3.
“There aren’t many doubles teams in college that have people that are tall,” Lama said. “One is 6’0” and one is 5’11” and it’s hard to go past them at the net. They complement each other perfectly.”
This duo also took doubles against Lamar. Bardabush and Sprinkmeyer handed a loss to junior Helene Czudek and senior Carolina Salas 8-4.
“Bardabush is very intense and focused with tremendous energy and confidence,” Lama said. “And Sprinkmeyer is more laid back and more relaxed. Both of them are willing to come forward and play Mean Green doubles. They come forward and play the game at the net and that pays off for them.”
Bardabush also dominated in singles, taking down Ivanova 6-3, 6-0 and Salas 6-2, 6-3, respectively.
“I think we all did a good job playing aggressive and getting to the ball early,” Bardabush said. “That helped us to win. My main focus was to stay aggressive and have energy. We had energy on every court and I think we transferred energy to whoever was playing.”
Seniors Valentina Starkova and Barbora Vykydalova took the No. 2 slot in doubles on both Saturday and Sunday. The two defeated ODU junior Melissa Esnal Olguin and senior Juliana Pires 8-1.
“We are in very good shape and we competed hard,” Vykydalova said. “We gave our best and played good tennis. The biggest advantage we have is our fitness.”
The team doesn’t compete again until February 16 and 17 in Mobile, Ala. against Florida International University and the University of South Alabama.
“When we play, we are all playing for each other,” Vykydalova said. “Not one of us is selfish and we all play for the team and for each other. I think that’s why we are successful because we all respect each other and for years before we didn’t have that and that’s what is unique about this group.”