WT: Mavs conclude 2014 season
April 28, 2014
ALRINGOTN, Texas – The Mavericks finished the season with an overall record of 12-8 and entered the Sun Belt Conference Championship seeded No. 2. UTA swept Arkansas State 4-0 in the quarterfinals before South Alabama came back from a 3-1 deficit to claim a 4-3 victory over the Mavericks in the semifinals.
"This is a very talented team. We had put together a very great group of athletes, not only on the court, but also off the court," UT Arlington coach Diego Benitez said. "They really love the game and they're eager to practice and they want to get better. They really want to make it happen for UTA and that's not something you can really teach, that's something they just have.
"I'm very satisfied with the recruiting class I was able to bring in this year with those four freshmen. It was great to have so many high quality players come in at once. They really stepped up and then you have Elizabeth (Thoms) who was playing in the middle of the lineup but really stepped up in the fall and refused to lose."
Senior Giada D'ortona wrapped up her final season playing at the No. 1 and 2 singles position with a 10-6 record.
D'ortona was the lone senior for the Mavericks this season as she was named captain for her senior season. D'ortona was named to the 2010-11 All-Southland Conference team for singles and doubles. In 2012-13, D'ortona was a member of the All-Academic Team. She moved into the top of the lineup this season after competing at a high level during the fall.
"Giada was playing at the bottom of the lineup, but stepped up for her team to compete higher in the lineup and was a leader for the young team," Benitez said.
Sophomore Elizabeth Thoms split time with D'ortona at the top of the lineup, including a four-match winning streak to end the season. Thoms was named Sun Belt Conference Athlete of the Week on April 9 after helping her team sweep No. 55 North Texas in Denton and was named to the first team all-conference.
Birowski completed her first season with an 11-3 record, while competing at the No. 3, 4 and 5 positions. De los Rios played at the No. 3 spot for most of her matches as she went 11-6 during singles, earning her second team all-conference. Gehre competed mostly at the No. 4 position, including a three-set win against No. 30 TCU. Tugarinova wrapped up the season with a 5-2 record at the No. 6 position and one win at the No. 5 spot.
Junior Christine Foote went 6-1 in doubles play, with her lone loss coming against South Alabama in the semifinals of the Sun Belt Championship. Fellow junior Verena Scott defeated UTSA's Lina Hallgren in a three-set match to help the Mavericks to a 4-3 win over the in-state rival.