April 6, 2012
Back on familiar footing for the first time in three weeks, the road-weary Rice Owls rebounded from a midweek loss against Texas A&M to down Texas A&M Corpus Christi 6-1 at Jake Hess Tennis Stadium on Friday afternoon.
Playing their fifth match in the last 10 days, the 39th ranked Owls won for the eighth time in the last nine matches to run their season record to 16-6 in advance of a matchup with 13th ranked Oklahoma on Sunday morning. Rice head coach Ron Smarr was glad to see the team get back on the winning track, but thought the effects of their recent heavy workload showed during the match.
"We played hard today and we got the job done, but I think we're still feeling the effects of having five matches in 10 days," Smarr said. "We travel a lot and playing that many matches in that period of time will take it out of anyone."
Rice rode wins at No. 1 and No. 3 doubles to take the first point of the match. Sam Garforth-Bles extended the lead to 2-0 with a straight-set win on the stadium court and Michael Nuesslein and Philipp Seifert provided the clinching points with wins at #5 and 6.
Christian Saravia and Jonathan Chang provided the final two points, but had to battle to do so.
Saravia breezed to a 6-0 first set win, but the Islanders' Aurelien Tave returned the favor in the second set with a 6-0 win of his own. Tave won the first game of the third set before Saravia could snap a seven-game losing streak by rattling off five straight games of his own and then closing out the match, 6-2. With a set in hand, Chang and to battle from behind to win the second set 7-5 and close out the Owls' scoring.
Smarr knows the challenge the Owls have before them on Easter morning at Jake Hess.
"I think Oklahoma will be the best team we play this year. They are coming in here ranked 13th and I expect they will get into the top 10 by the end of the year. We look forward to the challenge," Smarr stated.
First serve is set for 11 a.m. on Sunday at Jake Hess Tennis Stadium