March 25, 2012
Katie Gater ground out a second-set tiebreaker to provide the clinching point as the 28th ranked Rice women's tennis team opened Conference USA play with a 5-2 win over Tulane at the Goldring Tennis Center in New Orleans on Sunday.
The Owls (12-4, 1-0) were forced to battle from behind from the opening serves of the match, falling behind by 4-0 margins on both No. 2 and No. 3 doubles. Rice's #1 pair of Natalie Beazant and Dominique Harmath, currently ranked 42nd in the country, finished first with an 8-4 win, but it took rallies at both 2 & 3 to wrestle the match's first point from the Green Wave.
Rice's No. 3 pairing of Kimberly Anicete and Leah Fried, who was subbing for an injured Stephanie Nguyen, battled back from a 4-0 deficit to force a tiebreak, but fell 9-8 to knot up the doubles competition. The Owls No. 2 duo of Gater and Ana Guzman bounced back from a 4-0 score of their own to win 8-6 and provide the Owls with the crucial first point of the day.
"Today was another gutsy match by our team." Rice head coach Elizabeth Schmidt said. "We fell in some pretty big holes early at #2 and #3 doubles but continued to fight our way back into the match and I think winning that point was huge for our team. I am proud of the heart and hustle our team showed against a very good Tulane team," Schmidt added.
In singles action, Rice took four of six first sets and moved out to a 3-1 lead on the strength of wins by Beazant and Harmath, while Tulane picked up a win at No. 6. The win was Beazant's seventh straight and ran her spring dual mark to 15-1 overall and 12-1 after moving into the No. 1 position.
After Tulane closed the gap to 3-2 with a win at #4, the outcome came down to the final sets at #3 and 5. Tulane's Lindsay Dvorak force Kimberly Anicete to a third set with a tiebreak win in the second stanza. Gater was in danger of moving to a third set as well, trailing 5-4 in her second set tiebreak with Caroline Thornton, before rallying to take the set, win her match and clinch the day for Rice with a 9-7 win.
Anicete then wrapped up the match by winning her third set over Dvorak by a 6-3 score.
The Owls will be back in action at home on Friday with a non-conference matchup with Missouri and then face off against 29th ranked Tulsa next Sunday at Jake Hess Tennis Stadium.
Tennis Match Results
Rice vs Tulane Green Wave
3/25/2012 at New Orleans, La.
(Goldring Tennis Center)
#28 Rice 5, #52 Tulane Green Wave 2
1. #46 Natalie Beazant (RICE) def. Mariam Kurdadze (TLN) 6-1, 6-2
2. Dominique Harmath (RICE) def. Emma Levy (TLN) 6-0, 6-0
3. Katie Gater (RICE) def. Caroline Thornton (TLN) 6-4, 7-6 (9-7)
4. Caroline Magnusson (TLN) def. Ana Guzman (RICE) 6-2, 6-2
5. Kimberly Anicete (RICE) def. Lindsay Dvorak (TLN) 6-4, 6-7 (5-7), 6-3
6. Jenny Hois (TLN) def. Leah Fried (RICE) 6-1, 6-0
1. #42 Natalie Beazant/Dominique Harmath (RICE) def. Mariam Kurdadze/Emma Levy (TLN) 8-4
2. Katie Gater/Ana Guzman (RICE) def. Caroline Thornton/Caroline Magnusson (TLN) 8-6
3. Lindsay Dvorak/Hila Elster (TLN) def. Kimberly Anicete/Leah Fried (RICE) 9-8 (7-3)
Rice 12-4; National ranking #28
Tulane Green Wave 13-5; National ranking #52
Order of finish: Doubles (1,3,2); Singles (6,2,1,4,3,5)