Bennett and Ip Sweep C-USA Honors
Second sweep in first three weeks of awards
by Chuck Pool (email@example.com) - Tommy Bennett and Katherine Ip rode wins over ranked opponents on Sunday to sweep the Conference USA Tennis Athlete of the Week awards for the week ending January 31, the second such sweep by Rice in the first three weeks of the 2016 dual season.
Bennett was honored for his match-clinching victory over LSU’s 78th ranked Justin Butsch to give the Owls a 4-3 win over No. 30 LSU on Sunday in front of 491 fans as part of the second annual “Double Trouble” combined dual with the Rice women’s team. After the two split the first two sets and with the match tied at 3-3, Bennet dominated the final set to post his first win over a ranked opponent since 2014 when he bested 39th ranked Malte Stropp of Mississippi State, 7-6 (7-5), 5-7, 6-1
Ip, who is currently ranked 40th in singles, was dominant in her match against LSU, breezing to a 6-1, 6-1 victory over the Tigers 52nd ranked Jessica Golovin. She also teamed with Emily Smith to pick up a 6-3 win in doubles.
This marks the first time Rice has swept Conference USA’s weekly tennis honors twice in a season since 2006. Christine Dao took the women’s honor on Mach 7 of that year while Robert Searle and Tony Haerle shared the men’s honor. Blair DiSesa and Searle repeated that effort on April 18.
The 31st ranked Rice women’s tennis team host No. 65 Arizona on Saturday at 11 a.m. at the George R. Brown Tennis Center, while the 56th ranked Rice men’s team will travel to Ithaca, New York this weekend for duals against No. 47 Cornell on Friday and No. 21 Northwestern on Saturday.
(Note: All rankings are as of January 27. New rankings will be released February 3).