March 31, 2012
The Missouri women's tennis team picked up its third consecutive win over a higher-ranked opponent on their spring break southern swing, holding off a late Rice charge to down the 30th ranked Owls 4-3 at Jake Hess Tennis Stadium on Saturday.
Rice fell to 12-5 on the season and face a stern test less than 24 hours later as 31st ranked Tulsa will face the Owls in an 11 a.m. dual on Sunday morning.
"Missouri just played a little bit better than us in singles at positions 3 thru 6 and that was the difference today," Rice head coach Elizabeth Schmidt said. "It's unfortunate we weren't able to pull this one out, but our team has a lot of heart and I'm confident that we will be ready to go against Tulsa tomorrow."
Rice looked to be in good position after capturing the doubles point for the 13th time in 17 spring matches. The Owls were 12-0 coming into the match when winning the doubles point, but the Tigers served notice that the match would be a battle until the end by taking three of six first sets in singles, including the first set at No. 1 where Rice's Natalie Beazant was looking to improve her 15-1 season mark.
The Owls extended the lead to 2-0 when Dominique Harmath swept to a straight set win over Missouri's 94th ranked Rachel Stuhlman. The win was Harmath's first this season over a ranked opponent, however Rice quickly saw their advantage evaporate as Missouri captured matches at No. 6 and 4 to tie the score.
While Beazant rallied to force a third set at No. 1, the Tigers entries at No. 3 and 5 did likewise. After Missouri won at 5 to take a 3-2 lead, the Owls chances appeared in jeopardy when Katie Gater fell down 5-1 in her third set at No. 3. However the junior summoned a spirited rally of her own to take a 6-5 lead in the set while Beazant was neck-and-neck in the third set on the stadium court.
Both matches would go to third-set tiebreaks, but it was Missouri who took the match when Gater fell in her decisive final game. Beazant provided the Owls final point with a win in her tiebreak to move to 16-1 this season.
First serve between the Owls and Golden Hurricane is set for 11 a.m. on Sunday. Free breakfast tacos will be served to fans at the start of the match while supplies last.
Tennis Match Results
Missouri vs Rice
3/31/2012 at Houston, Texas
(Jake Hess Tennis Stadium)
#68 Missouri 4, #30 Rice 3
1. #44 Natalie Beazant (RICE) def. Nina Pantic (MISSOURI) 2-6, 6-2, 7-6 (7-2)
2. Dominique Harmath (RICE) def. #94 Rachel Stuhlmann (MISSOURI) 6-1, 6-0
3. Maria Christensen (MISSOURI) def. Katie Gater (RICE) 1-6, 6-4, 7-6 (7-4)
4. Jamie Mera (MISSOURI) def. Ana Guzman (RICE) 6-2, 6-3
5. Alex Clark (MISSOURI) def. Kimberly Anicete (RICE) 3-6, 6-3, 6-1
6. Annemijn Koenen (MISSOURI) def. Leah Fried (RICE) 6-4, 6-2
1. #35 Natalie Beazant/Dominique Harmath (RICE) def. Nina Pantic/Jamie Mera (MISSOURI) 8-3
2. Katie Gater/Ana Guzman (RICE) def. Rachel Stuhlmann/Alex Clark (MISSOURI) 8-4
3. Annemijn Koenen/Maria Christensen (MISSOURI) def. Kimberly Anicete/Leah Fried (RICE) 8-6
Missouri 7-8; National ranking #68
Rice 12-5; National ranking #30
Order of finish: Doubles (2,1,3); Singles (2,6,4,5,3,1)