by Chuck Pool (firstname.lastname@example.org) -
The Rice women’s tennis team absorbed an early onslaught from Houston in doubles and found their footing in singles, taking a 4-3 decision at the George R. Brown Tennis Center on Saturday.
Making their first appearance at the GRBTC and their first in dual action at Rice since 2009, the Cougars jumped out early by taking doubles wins on courts one and three, but Rice head coach Elizabeth Schmidt was pleased the way her team responded to the early challenge.
“Credit to Houston for the way they played in doubles. Obviously, the matches were all close, but they controlled the doubles. But, what I was really proud of was that in singles, we really fought.”
Savannah Durkin and Anna Bowtell finished moments apart and combined to lose just six games over four sets to put the Owls ahead to stay. Michaela Haet added the third point shortly after, but the clinching fourth point appeared more problematic after the Owls dropped first sets at the first two spots in the lineup and Fernanda Astete was forced to a third set at four.
Houston cut the margin to 3-2 with a win at the first position and while Astete was beginning to regain her footing at the start of her third set, Wendy Zhang leveraged a late break and then won a long rally at deuce to win her second set and keep her match alive as well.
“That was huge for the team dynamic”, Schmidt said. “She won that second set right as Fer was starting her third and it’s nice to have a teammate out there with you fighting it out. It was a really great effort by her (Astete) today. She played really disciplined, aggressive and she really had her teeth in that third set the whole time. I proud of her for clinching.”
Houston vs Rice
2/17/2018 at Houston, TX
(George R. Brown Tennis Center)
Rice 4, Houston 3
1. DIMITROVA, Tsveta (HOU) def. Lindsey Hodge (RICEW) 7-5, 6-1
2. MAZZARI, Sveva (HOU) def. Wendy Zhang (RICEW) 6-3, 5-7, 6-4
3. Michaela Haet (RICEW) def. #112 ALTER, Lauren (HOU) 6-3, 6-3
4. Fernanda Astete (RICEW) def. NICOLAOU, Constanden (HOU) 6-4, 2-6, 6-2
5. Savannah Durkin (RICEW) def. MILLS, Alison (HOU) 6-1, 6-1
6. Anna Bowtell (RICEW) def. GLUMAC, Ana (HOU) 6-2, 6-2
1. DIMITROVA, Tsveta/MAZZARI, Sveva (HOU) def. #17 Lindsey Hodge/Wendy Zhang (RICEW) 6-4
2. Anna Bowtell/Priya Niezgoda (RICEW) vs. ALTER, Lauren/MILLS, Alison (HOU) 6-6, unfinished
3. GLUMAC, Ana/NICOLAOU, Constanden (HOU) def. Savannah Durkin/Michaela Haet (RICEW) 7-5
Order of finish: Doubles (1,3); Singles (5,6,1,4,2)