Jan. 26, 2014
One day after they rode a pair of tiebreaker wins to advance, the Rice women's tennis team found themselves in need of wins in four extra sessions to defeat 17th ranked Texas and advance to the National Indoor Championships. Their efforts fell short as Texas edged out wins at the top two singles positions to take a 4-1 win over the Owls at the Penick-Allison Tennis Center in Austin on Sunday afternoon.
"We didn't lose this match because of lack of fight," Rice head coach Elizabeth Schmidt said. "We shook off a slow start in doubles and came out strong in singles. The match was a series of momentum shifts all afternoon. It all came down to a couple of points at the end. We lost the tiebreaks at 1 and 2 by 10-8 scores. We were that close to taking both those points. But by the same token, you have to give credit to Texas. They fought just as hard and they pulled out those matches at the end," Schmidt added.
Unlike their 4-3 win over Florida State on Saturday, Rice dug itself an early hole with a sluggish start in doubles. The Owls fell behind early by 3-0 counts on both courts 1 and 3 and with the matches shortened to six games instead of eight for the win, those deficits proved too large to overcome.
"We were fighting hard from behind, but with the new scoring format you need to start fast. I was pleased the way we fought back to make the doubles point competitive and that effort carried over into singles. We didn't panic. It was a fight the rest of the day," Schmidt stated.
Trailing 1-0, the Owls rebounded with fast starts on Courts 4-6, as Kimberly Anicete, Katherine Ip and Alison Ho along with Dominique Harmath on Court 2 raced out to strong early leads in their opening sets. Haramth, Anicete and Ho all captured their first sets, while Ip dropped her first set in a tiebreaker, a development that would soon become the norm as the match rolled towards completion.
Much as she had the day before, Natalie Beazant
shook off a first set loss at No. 1 singles to take the second set and force the first of four third set tiebreakers. She traded points with the Longhorns' 22nd ranked Breaunna Addison in the decisive third set, only to fall 10-8 and give the Longhorns a 3-0 lead.
Ho put the Owls on the scoreboard with a third-set win over her own, while Harmath and Anicete were engaged in tight battles of their own.
"That was a great effort by Alison," Schmidt said. "She shook off her loss in the second set and played a great tiebreaker to get the victory."
Wins by Harmath and Anicente would have tied the match and left it to Ip on Court 5 to decide things. But Harmath fell 10-8, ending the match, cutting short Ancete's bid for a win with an 8-4 lead in her own tiebreaker.
The Owls will not have long to wait to be tested by another set of ranked teams. Rice will host 65th ranked LSU on Friday and then defending national champion and top-ranked Stanford on Saturday at Jake Hess Tennis Stadium.
Tennis Match Results
Texas vs Rice
1/26/2014 at Austin, TX
(Penick-Allison Tennis Center)
#17 Texas 4, #22 Rice 1
1. #22 Breaunna Addison (TEXAS) def. Natalie Beazant (RICE) 6-2, 6-3, 10-8
2. Elizabeth Begley (TEXAS) def. Dominique Harmath (RICE) 2-6, 4-3, 10-8
3. Neda Koprcina (TEXAS) def. Liat Zimmermann (RICE) 6-4, 6-0
4. Kimberly Anicete (RICE) vs. #77 Ratnika Batra (TEXAS) 6-4, 3-6, 8-4, unfinished
5. Katherine Ip (RICE) vs. Pippa Horn (TEXAS) 6-7 (3-7), 2-2, unfinished
6. Alison Ho (RICE) def. Juliana Gajic (TEXAS) 6-1, 4-6, 10-1
1. #21 Breaunna Addison/Pippa Horn (TEXAS) def. Natalie Beazant/Dominique Harmath (RICE) 7-5
2. Elizabeth Begley/Neda Koprcina (TEXAS) def. Liat Zimmermann/Katherine Ip (RICE) 6-3
3. Ratnika Batra/Lina Padegimaite (TEXAS) def. Alison Ho/Solomiya Zinko (RICE) 6-1
Texas 3-0; National ranking #17
Rice 2-1; National ranking #22
Order of finish: Doubles (3,2,1); Singles (3,1,6,2)
ITA Kickoff Weekend