Jan. 17, 2014
The Rice men's tennis team could not maintain a fast start in doubles and saw 20th ranked Texas grind out a 7-0 win over the Owls at The MET at the Downtown Club in Houston on Friday night.
"Texas has a lot of firepower up and down their lineup," Rice head coach Efe Ustundag said. "We played well in doubles, but came up a little bit short. In singles at certain spots, Texas was just better. When you play a top 20 teams there are times when you are going to find yourself matched against a better player. But I thought we showed a lot of fighting spirit all through the match."
The youthful Owls battled the Longhorns shot for shot in the opening doubles matches. Adam Gustafsson and Max Andrews struck an early blow, downing the Horns' 55th ranked pairing of Jacoby Lewis and George Goldhoff 6-1 but the Horns answered with a 6-3 at the No. 2 position. The doubles point came down to the top position for both teams, and Texas used a late service break by its fifth-ranked team of Søren Hess-Olesen and Lloyd Glasspool to earn the opening point with a 6-4 win over Tommy Bennett and David Warren.
"It really came down to a couple of points at No. 1 doubles. It was a good match and we played well, but we just came up a little bit short," Ustundag said.
When singles play opened, the Horns did not allow the Owls to mount a second charge, clinching the match with straight set wins on courts 1, 2, and 4.
Rice mounted stronger challenges on courts 3, 5 and 6 as the Owls and Longhorns needed four tiebreaker sets to complete the matches.
Andrews saw his bid for a second win over a nationally-ranked opponent fall short when he dropped a 6-3, 4-6, 6-5 (7-3) decision to #24 George Goldhoff. Fellow freshman Zack Yablon and Texas' David Holiner traded tiebreak wins in the first two sets on court six before Holiner took the third set, 6-0.
The Owls will be back on the courts on Sunday to face another top 25 team when they host #24 LSU at Jake Hess at 1 p.m. on Sunday.
"We need to get a good night's sleep tonight, get a good hit tomorrow and get ready to play another ranked team on Sunday. We'll be outside at Jake Hess, so that adds a new dynamic, and hopefully we'll get a nice crowd and we'll get after it."