April 19, 2012
The Rice men's tennis team's effort to extend Hall of Fame coach Ron Smarr's career begins on the courts of the UCF Tennis Complex late Friday afternoon when they face SMU in the first round of the 2012 C-USA Men's Tennis Championship.
Smarr, college tennis' career wins record holder, is looking to add to that total of 872-343 and in the process advance far enough to secure the Owls 10th consecutive NCAA berth.
The Owls enter the weekend as the third seed, their lowest positioning in the seven years they have been members of the league. Defending champion Tulsa, who have battled the Owls for the C-USA title in each of the last six years, comes in as the top seed. Memphis owns the second seed even though the Owls downed the Tigers 5-2 at the Rice Invitational earlier this year.
The Owls downed SMU 4-3 in Dallas at the end of March, and the two schools are no strangers in the C-USA tournament. Four times in the last six years Rice has defeated the Mustangs to earn a finals date against Tulsa. This marks the first time the two have met in the quarterfinals.
The winner of the match will move on to the semifinals to face the winner of the match between Memphis and Southern Miss.
First serve between Rice and SMU is set for 5 p.m. at the UCF Tennis Complex in Orlando. Live Scoring is available online.