Feb. 24, 2012
Katie Gater and Kimberly Anicete battled to three-set singles wins, but the 68th ranked Rice Owls could not overcome an early barrage of points by No. 28 Texas A&M as the Aggies prevailed 5-2 at the Mitchell Tennis Center in College Station on Friday afternoon.
"I was really proud the way we battled back in singles, but the doubles point was tough to overcome," Rice head coach Elizabeth Schmidt said. "That was one that we really gave away. To have our No. 1 team come back from being down 5-2 to win and having a lead at three, you have to close it out if you want to beat a team like A&M."
While the Aggies were taking the No. 2 doubles match, Rice's 47th ranked duo of Natalie Beazant and Dominique Harmath found themselves down 5-2 to Cristina Sanchez-Quintanar and Wen Sun. At the same time, Rice's No. 3 pairing of Kimberly Anicete and Stephanie Nguyen had staked out a 6-4 lead. Beazant and Harmath staged a stirring rally to win 9-7, but the Aggies staged a rally of their own at No. 3, to take the doubles point with an 8-6 win.
The Aggies raced out to wins in five of the first six singles matches and quickly moved to a clinching position with wins at No. 3, 2 and 6. At that point, most of the attention was focused upon the matchup at No. 1 singles between the 14th ranked Sanchez-Quintanar, a junior transfer from Maryland and Beazant, who was bidding for her second consecutive win over a top 15 opponent. Beazant took the first set, but Sanchez-Quintanar's experience allowed her to rally for a three-set win.
Meanwhile Gater and Anicete shook off the effects of dropping 7-5 first sets to rally in the second set and prevail in third set super tiebreakers to score the Owls' two points.
"I told Natalie that everybody would like to go through the season undefeated, but it's not something that would likely happen. I was very proud of the way Katie and Kimberly shook off those tough first set losses to fight back and get the win," Schmidt said.
The Owls will finally return to their home courts on Sunday morning when they host 35th ranked Oklahoma at Jake Hess Tennis Stadium at 11 a.m. Schmidt knows the Owls have to be ready to shake off the loss and refocus for the Sooners.
"We're facing a team in Oklahoma that is pretty much in the same spot we are right now. They've had some tough matches and their looking to get back on track. I know it's Spring Break for the students, but we hope some of the baseball fans will stop in on their way to the game and cheer our girls on this Sunday," she added.
Tennis Match Results
Rice vs Texas A&M
2/24/2012 at College Station, Texas
(Mitchell Tennis Center)
#28 Texas A&M 5, #68 Rice 2
1. #14 Cristina Sanchez-Qui (TEXASAM) def. Natalie Beazant (RICE) 4-6, 6-2, 6-2
2. Nazari Urbina (TEXASAM) def. Dominique Harmath (RICE) 6-2, 6-2
3. #86 Wen Sun (TEXASAM) def. Ana Guzman (RICE) 6-2, 6-2
4. Katie Gater (RICE) def. Lauren Santacroce (TEXASAM) 5-7, 6-3, 1-0 (10-7)
5. Kimberly Anicete (RICE) def. Janelle Cuthbertson (TEXASAM) 5-7, 7-5, 1-0 (10-7)
6. Sheri Olivier (TEXASAM) def. Stephanie Nguyen (RICE) 6-2, 6-2
1. #43 Natalie Beazant/Dominique Harmath (RICE) def. Cristina Sanchez-Qui/Wen Sun (TEXASAM) 9-7
2. Nazari Urbina/Janelle Cuthbertson (TEXASAM) def. Ana Guzman/Katie Gater (RICE) 8-3
3. Lauren Santacroce/Sheri Olivier (TEXASAM) def. Kimberly Anicete/Stephanie Nguyen (RICE) 8-6
Rice 6-3; National ranking #68
Texas A&M 5-1; National ranking #28
Order of finish: Doubles (2,1,3); Singles (3,2,6,5,4,1)