March 2, 2014
This weekend was like most others for Rice University women's tennis this season - a test against one of the nation's elite squads. While Sunday's 4-1 loss at the hands of Conference USA and No. 17 nationally ranked rival Tulsa at Jake Hess Stadium was a disappointing setback, head coach Elizabeth Schmidt is confident that her No. 21 ranked Owls will rebound and continue their quest in what has been a consistent rise on the national level.
Rice now sits at 6-5 on the season while Tulsa extended its record to 10-2.
In reviewing this past week's ITA national rankings, eight of Rice's 11 matches have come against teams ranked in the top 50 including five against the top 25. Each of the Owls' five setbacks came against teams in the top 20 at the time the match was played, including No. 4 ranked Stanford and No. 10 Alabama in the finals of the Blue-Gray Classic. The Owls hold victories over Auburn (23), Florida State (34) and Oklahoma State (50).
"Tulsa was tougher and was the better team today," said Schmidt. "We have played tough competition by design with the idea that we learn something from every match - win or lose. I am confident that we will take what we learned from this match and improve in the future."
Tulsa seized control of the match early by securing the doubles point winning the first set on four of six singles matches. The bright spot for the Owls was senior Dominique Harmath, who got the Owls on the board early with a resounding 6-2, 6-0 win over Isaura Enrique. No. 74 Katherine Ip was up a set and leading 3-2 in the second set against No. 109 Yelena Nemchen when play was suspended once Tulsa secured the match with its fourth point. Each of Tulsa's three singles wins came in straight sets.
"I am really proud of Dominique," said Schmidt. "She really took care of business and got us on the board early. We just couldn't take advantage of the momentum of her win."
The Owls will continue the practice of hosting nationally ranked competition when they host No. 41 LSU on Wednesday, March 5 at 1 p.m.
Tulsa vs Rice
3/2/2014 at Houston, TX
(Jake Hess Tennis Stadium)
No. 17 Tulsa 4, No. 21 Rice 1
1. #72 Natalie Beazant (RICE) vs. #70 Samantha Vickers (TLS) 5-7, 1-3, unfinished
2. Dominique Harmath (RICE) def. Isaura Enrique (TLS) 6-2, 6-0
3. #74 Katherine Ip (RICE) vs. #109 Yelena Nemchen (TLS) 7-5, 3-2, unfinished
4. Renata Kuricova (TLS) def. Liat Zimmermann (RICE) 6-3, 6-2
5. Marcelina Cichon (TLS) def. Kimberly Anicete (RICE) 6-2, 6-2
6. Dobby Leenabanchong (TLS) def. Alison Ho (RICE) 6-4, 6-2
1. Natalie Beazant/Liat Zimmermann (RICE) vs. Samantha Vickers/Isaura Enrique (TLS) 6-7, unfinished
2. Maria Sant'Anna/Dobby Leenabanchong (TLS) def. Dominique Harmath/Kimberly Anicete (RICE) 8-4
3. Marcelina Cichon/Renata Kuricova (TLS) def. Solomiya Zinko/Alison Ho (RICE) 8-6
Tulsa 10-2; National ranking #17
Rice 6-5; National ranking #21
Order of finish: Doubles (2,3); Singles (5,2,6,4)