Jan. 18, 2013
The Rice men's tennis team will be looking to spring an upset and present first-year head coach Efe Ustundag his first career coaching victory when the Owls welcome a pair of Top 30 teams to Jake Hess Tennis Stadium this weekend.
The Owls, who opened the year ranked 56th, will kick off the 2013 campaign on Saturday when they host 29th ranked Texas Tech and noon on Saturday and then 11th ranked Mississippi State on Monday at 1 p.m.
"I can't wait to step on the court on Saturday to see what we're made of and to see how these guys put all we've done the past 4-5 months to use against a pair of really good teams who've been very successful over the last seven or eight years," Ustundag said.
Although both schools come in ranked in the Top 30, Ustundag sees one telling similarity in each of the three programs.
"It's going to be a really interesting weekend, because all three teams lost their top three singles players from the last match they played in 2012. So all three are coming in with a really brand new look. New players, new starters, people moving up in the lineup," he noted.
The Owls will open with a lineup that features two seniors (Jonathan Chang and Peter Frank), one junior (Philipp Seifert), one sophomore (Leif Berger) and three freshmen (Tommy Bennet, Adam Gutafsson and Gustavo Gonzalez), backed up by a senior Rice student (Dylan Tozier) who joined the team as a walk-on for the season.
First serve for Saturday's match has been moved up an hour from its original 1 p.m. start time and is now set for noon at Jake Hess Tennis Stadium.