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Tennis: Mean Green eliminated by Horned Frogs

COLLEGE STATION -- North Texas hoped the 2013 season would mark its breakthrough moment in the NCAA tournament.

No. 60 UNT (18-6) made its second consecutive appearance in the national championships and third in the last four years on Saturday morning, when the Mean Green took on rival TCU in College Station.

The 29th-ranked Horned Frogs ended UNT’s dreams of a milestone moment, not to mention its season, with a 4-1 win in a first-round match at Texas A&M.

UNT was swept by Nebraska last season and lost to Tulsa 4-2 in 2010.

The Mean Green lost to TCU 4-2 in February and had hoped to turn the tide in the rematch.

“We are very disappointed we came out flat and didn’t compete the way we have all year long,” UNT head coach Sujay Lama said. “You can blame it on nerves or rust from a long lay off. The bottom line is we didn’t get it done. The opportunity certainly was there.”

TCU (18-6) jumped off to an early 1-0 lead after winning two out of three doubles matches.

Ilona Serchenko fell 6-2, 6-0 to Monika Sirilova at the No. 5 position, giving TCU a 2-0 edge.

Valentina Starkova won the lone point for UNT in a 6-2, 6-2 win over Olivia Smith at the No. 3 singles spot. Smith defeated Starkova in straight sets when the two faced each other at the No. 2 position in February.

Minutes later, the Horned Frogs took a 3-1 lead with Simona Parajova’s 6-4, 6-3 win over Barbora Vykydalova at the No. 2 singles spot. Vykydalova defeated Parajova, who was ranked No. 95 nationally, in February.

Kseniya Bardabush fell to No. 44-ranked Stefanie Tan 6-1, 6-4, at the No. 1 singles slot. The loss gave TCU the four points necessary to clinch the match and advance to the second round.

“This was an amazing year overall and these ladies accomplished a lot,” Lama said. “I am very proud of the way they kept working, improving and coming together as a team. The three seniors will be missed. They have left their mark.”

The Mean Green ended the season with 18 wins for the second consecutive season as well as back-to-back Sun Belt Conference championships.