April 1, 2012
All things pointed to a tight battle when Conference USA's two top-ranked women's tennis teams met in dual action and Rice and Tulsa delivered on those predictions, requiring nearly four and a half hours to decide the outcome with the Golden Hurricane emerging with a 5-2 on Sunday afternoon and Jake Hess Tennis Stadium.
Down 3-2, Rice rallied with tie break wins in the second sets on both courts two and three to extend the dual to its limit. Tulsa' s Ewa Szatkowska bounced back to take the third set over Katie Gater by a 6-1 count. At that time, Rice's Dominique Harmath and Tulsa's 75th ranked Samantha Vickers were tied up 2-2 in their third set when both coaches agreed to settle the final point in a Super Tie Break, which Vickers won 10-7.
"It's always a battle when we play Tulsa and today was no exception," Rice head coach Elizabeth Schmidt said. "I think we showed why we are one and two in the conference today. We had a lot to be proud of today," she added.
Schmidt noted that several matches on Sunday were remarkable similar to those played on Saturday during a 4-3 loss to Missouri.
"Katie Gater lost the tiebreaker yesterday to give Missouri the win and then found herself back in another one today. She dug deep and came through to keep us in the match. That's not easy to be able to put one behind you so quickly. Kim Anicete found herself in a match similar to yesterday, winning the first set and losing the second. But she bounced back and did the opposite of her third set yesterday, winning 6-0. Those are all things that we can build from," Schmidt stated.
Schmidt also praised the play of Harmath, who was bidding for a second consecutive win over a ranked opponent.
"I talked to her after the match and told her that even though she didn't get the win today, there's no comparison with the way she's playing now with the way she was about a month ago. She is settling in and she's looking much more comfortable out there."
In addition to Anicete's win at No. 5, the Owls other point came from freshman Natalie Beazant who ran her season record to 17-1, 14-1 since moving into the No. 1 spot in the lineup.
The Owls will close out the 2012 home season next Saturday when they host UT-Pan American for Senior Day. They will close out the regular season with road duals at SMU and TCU prior to the Conference USA Championships in Memphis, and another potential matchup with Tulsa.
"It's unfortunate that we didn't get the win today, but I know we will keep battling and hopefully we will get to see them again at the conference meet," Schmidt said.
Tennis Match Results
Tulsa vs Rice
4/1/2012 at Houston, Texas
(Jake Hess Tennis Stadium)
#31 Tulsa 5, #30 Rice 2
1. #35 Natalie Beazant (RICE) def. #83 Anastasia Erofeeva (TLS) 6-3, 6-3
2. #75 Samantha Vickers (TLS) def. Dominique Harmath (RICE) 6-4, 6-7 (2-7), 1-0 (10-7)
3. Ewa Szatkowska (TLS) def. Katie Gater (RICE) 6-3, 6-7 (4-7), 6-1
4. Isaura Enrique (TLS) def. Ana Guzman (RICE) 6-3, 6-1
5. Kimberly Anicete (RICE) def. Michelle Farley (TLS) 6-2, 4-6, 6-0
6. Bonny Davidson (TLS) def. Leah Fried (RICE) 7-5, 6-0
1. #35 Natalie Beazant/Dominique Harmath (RICE) def. #69 Ewa Szatkowska/Anastasia Erofeeva (TLS) 8-3
2. Samantha Vickers/Bonny Davidson (TLS) def. Ana Guzman/Katie Gater (RICE) 8-2
3. Michelle Farley/Maria Sant'Anna (TLS) def. Leah Fried/Kimberly Anicete (RICE) 8-4
Tulsa 15-3 (3-0); National ranking #31
Rice 12-6 (1-1); National ranking #30
Order of finish: Doubles (1,2,3); Singles (6,1,4,5,3,2)