by Chuck Pool (email@example.com) -
The Rice women's tennis team fought off a slow start and roared back to blank the Memphis Tigers, 7-0 at the George R. Brown Tennis Center in Houston on Sunday.
The Owls (9-5) fought off an early surge by Memphis in doubles to grab the first point of the day and then raced to wins in five of six first sets in singles. In doing so, they shook off any lingering effects of a marathon, four-hour loss at Texas on Monday.
"(The loss at Texas) was grueling and physical," Rice head coach Elizabeth Schmidt said. "It was mentally draining for every player out there and everyone left everything out on the court. What I was really proud of about our team was we were able to come back here to Houston and, after a day off, they really got back to work with intensity on the practice court and used that loss to motivate and fuel them as we go into the second half of our season. I think you saw that today. We had a slow start but then we kept our foot on the pedal and went after it.
"Memphis came out pretty fast in the doubles and we had a slow start, especially at one and two," Schmidt noted. "But I though we stepped up when we needed to and it was good to get that doubles point, especially at one and three. They both have lost the last couple of matches. They really raised their level and got the point."
Rice took four of six singles matches in straight sets, as Wendy Zhang, Savannah Durkin and Alison Ho rattled off quick wins to provide the clinching points. Lindsey Hodge picked up a win with a second-set tiebreaker while Fernanda Astete and Katherine Ip were taken to superset tiebreaks before completing the sweep.
"It's always nice to get that momentum going into singles," Schmidt added. "It was a solid effort across the board in singles. Our focus and intensity was good and that carried over from our week of practice."
Rice will be back on the road this week as they travel to Tucson, Arizona to take on the Arizona Wildcats in a match that was postponed earlier in the year. They will back at the GRBTC on March 29 when they host UT-Arlington.
3/19/2017 at Houston, TX
(George R. Brown Tennis Center)
#38 Rice 7, Univ. of Memphis 0
1. Lindsey Hodge (RICE) def. Anki Wind (MEMPHIS) 6-2, 7-6 (7-1)
2. Katherine Ip (RICE) def. Hanna Sohn (MEMPHIS) 6-7 (7-9), 6-2, 1-0 (12-10)
3. Wendy Zhang (RICE) def. Gabrielle Paul (MEMPHIS) 6-1, 6-0
4. Fernanda Astete (RICE) def. Marta Morga (MEMPHIS) 6-2, 3-6, 1-0 (10-3)
5. Alison Ho (RICE) def. Katherine Cao (MEMPHIS) 6-3, 6-2
6. Savannah Durkin (RICE) def. Josephine Cao (MEMPHIS) 6-1, 6-2
1. #80 Wendy Zhang/Lindsey Hodge (RICE) def. Anki Wind/Katherine Cao (MEMPHIS) 6-4
2. Gabrielle Paul/Josephine Cao (MEMPHIS) def. #41 Alison Ho/Priya Niezgoda (RICE) 6-2
3. Savannah Durkin/Katherine Ip (RICE) def. Hanna Sohn/Marta Morga (MEMPHIS) 6-2
Univ. of Memphis 8-5
Rice 9-4; National ranking #38
Order of finish: Doubles (2,3,1); Singles (3,6,5,1,2)