March 16, 2013
After letting a number of ranked opponents wriggle free when an upset was within their grasp, the Rice men's tennis team fought off early disappointment and rebounded with their best singles effort of the spring to down 33rd ranked Oregon, 4-1 on the second day of the 55th Rice Invitational at Jake Hess Tennis Stadium.
The Owls will look to capture the Rice Invitational title for the sixth consecutive year when they take on 53rd ranked Texas A&M Corpus Christi at noon on Sunday. The Islanders (8-6) defeated Radford, 4-0 on Saturday morning.
The two teams split doubles matches on 1 and 3, with the Ducks taking advantage of some service errors by the Owls on 2 to take the point. Rice rallied behind the strong play of Philipp Seifert, Adam Gustafsson and Peter Frank to build a 3-1 lead, then saw Jonthan Chang fend off the challenge of the Duck's 6-8 Jeff Mullen on the stadium court to clinch the match with 6-4, 7-5 win.
"We found ourselves in the team room after doubles thinking `here we go again, losing the doubles point at home'. But this was the most complete match we played all season, from 1 through 6 in singles," Rice head coach Efe Ustundag said. "Everybody played and everybody played hard.
"Philipp really found his stride today which was huge," Ustundag noted. "Adam played a flawless match and Peter has found some success lately after a rocky start this year. Jonathan Chang bounced back from a frustrating match yesterday to come back and clinch the match for us."
The Owls had fallen from their preseason ranking thanks in part to losing four matches this year to ranked opponents by 4-3 scores. Overall, all eight of the Owls losses have come against ranked opponents and Rice's hopes for returning to the rankings were pinned to winning in the few remaining matches vs. ranked opponents. However, Ustundag said that the recent success of both the Ducks and the Islanders would allow the Rice Invitational to provide another chance to make a move.
"We've had a lot of tough 4-3 losses in the beginning of the year and we were thinking that the opportunities to get wins against ranked teams and get back into the rankings were coming to an end. But when the rankings came out a few weeks ago and Oregon and Texas A&M Corpus Christi were moving up, we realized we had another opportunity. "
The Owls won for the first time this season after losing the doubles point and chalked up their first win over a ranked opponent after losing doubles since they rallied to beat Tulane on the final day of the 2012 Rice Invitational.
"Just a little more of that Rice Invite magic," Ustundag said. "But we will need to find another spark tomorrow."
Owls Season Ends in NCAA Opener
05/13/2016 - After nearly three hours of momentum swings and tireless effort on all courts, Boris Arias of LSU outlasted Rice’s David Warren in three sets...
Bennett and Warren Qualify for NCAA Doubles
05/04/2016 - Rice juniors Tommy Bennett and David Warren will represent Rice and Conference USA as the conference’s automatic qualifier in the 2016 NCAA...
Owls Set for NCAA Action
05/03/2016 - For just the second time in school history, the Rice men’s and women’s tennis teams were each selected to the NCAA Tournament announced...
Ustundag and Hansen Earn C-USA Accolades
05/02/2016 - Rice men’s tennis head coach Efe Ustundag has been named Conference USA Men’s Tennis Coach of the Year while Jake Hansen was tabbed C-U...
Rice Tennis to Host NCAA Selection Party
04/29/2016 - Rice tennis fans are invited to join with the members of the Owls men's and women's teams in the R Room at Rice Stadium Tuesday, May 3 for the...
Energized Owls Race to First Title Since 2010
04/24/2016 - Spurred on by a raucous crowd of 537, the 26th ranked Rice men’s tennis team rode a blistering start in doubles and the steady play of their ...
Owls and Monarchs to Battle for Crown
04/23/2016 - The 26th ranked Rice men’s tennis are one match away from completing a journey that fell one match short a year ago as they advanced to their...
Owls Race Past Roadrunners in C-USA Opener
04/22/2016 - Tommy Bennett and David Warren picked up wins in singles and doubles to lead the 26th Rice Owls to a 4-0 win over UTSA in the opening round of the ...
- Top Videos /
- Online Store