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Tennis leaves Florida with three championships
Caitlyn Alvarado / Staff Writer
The Mean Green started the year on a positive note, bringing home three flight championships from the Florida Gulf Coast Invitational last weekend.
Five players advanced to the finals and the team won 10 out of 12 three-set matches.
Junior Franziska Sprinkmeyer won both a singles and doubles flight championship. Sprinkmeyer defeated University of North Florida sophomore Taylor Hollander, 6-7, 6-3, 12-10 in the flight four finals.
“It was hard to find my game,” Sprinkmeyer said. “But as the tournament went on, you could see some improvement. We do a lot of conditioning that paid off and helped me win a lot of my three-set matches.”
Sprinkmeyer teamed up with sophomore Kseniya Bardabush to defeat the Iowa State University team senior Simona Cacciutolo and sophomore Ksenia Pronina in the doubles championship, 9-8. Head coach Sujay Lama said he was impressed with Sprinkmeyer’s ability to fight until the end.
“Her freshman year was difficult, but I told her if she worked hard and believed in herself good things would come,” Lama said. “Work is when preparation meets opportunity. Every single match she played went to three sets. She showed mental and physical toughness.”
Bardabush fell short in the singles championship match against North Florida senior Lorena Aviles, 4-6, 2-6. Bardabush finished the invitational with a win in doubles, a loss in singles and what she saw as an endless amount of support from her teammates.
“Everyone supports each other,” she said. “We are like a family all playing the same game.”
UNT finished with a record of 10-3 on day one. Freshmen Emelia Box and Dané Joubert, Sprinkmeyer, Bardabush and senior Ilona Serchenko went 2-0, winning both in singles and doubles competition.
“We worked very hard to keep up the energy,” Sprinkmeyer said. “We fought really hard and we eventually found our game.”
After day two, Bardabush, Serchenko, Sprinkmeyer and senior Valentina Starkova were 4-0 and advanced to the finals of their respective flights. Box and Joubert met in the flight five finals, where Box emerged with a 6-2, 6-3 victory.
“Our girls got as many matches as they could possibly get,” Lama said. “I’m glad we got to shake off our rust. We won a lot of matches and got our confidence level where it needs to be.”
The team has two days of practice before it heads to College Station for the Intercollegiate Tennis Association Kick-Off this weekend.