by Chuck Pool (email@example.com) -
The Rice men’s tennis team will face an uphill battle this weekend as they attempt to defend their crown as the 70th annual Blue Gray National Tennis Classic gets underway in Montgomery, Alabama.
Rice opens play on Friday morning at 9 a.m. against 33rd ranked Alabama on the Lagoon Park courts in Montgomery. The winner advances to play the winner of the match between Arizona and Princeton, with the losers of both matches facing of in the consolation round. The doubles portion of the second round matches will be played on Friday and the singles portion on Saturday morning, followed by final matches later on Saturday.
Owls Tame Tide, Face Longhorns on Sunday
The 29th ranked Rice Owls moved on to the second round of the ITA National Indoor Championships with a 4-1 victory over 37th ranked Alabama at the Penick-Allison Tennis Center in Austin on Saturday. With the win, the Owls will face the 5th ranked Texas Longhorns at 2 p.m. on Sunday, looking to advance the final round of 16, which will be held in Seattle, Washington on February 18-21.
Live scoring for all matches is available here: http://bluegraytennis.com/scores/
This will be the first meeting between Rice and Alabama in men’s tennis since 2011 when the Owls took a 4-1 win in the opening round of the ITA Kickoff Weekend in Austin, Texas. Rice holds a 2-1 lead in the season series.
Last year the Owls rolled over Boise State and Virginia Tech and then stunned 16th ranked South Carolina to take the title. Eric Rutledge provided the clinching point against the Gamecocks on his way to being named MVP of the tournament as the Owls used the title to jump from 46th to 34th in the national rankings.
Rutledge leads the Owls (3-4) heading into action, posting an unbeaten record while playing at the top of the Owls’ singles lineup. The redshirt sophomore from Fort Worth has a 6-0 mark overall, including a 5-0 record when playing in the first position in the lineup.