April 13, 2013
Rice senior Katie Gater shook off the emotions of playing her final home match at Jake Hess and had a hand in two of the four points the 20th ranked Owls needed to hold off 54th ranked Utah, 4-3 on Saturday afternoon.
"It was another great college tennis match," Rice head coach Elizabeth Schmidt said. "I couldn't ask for a better ending than to have (Katie) Gater clinch the match on Senior Day. I'm really proud of her for that effort. She came out and played with a lot of passion and energy today."
Prior to the match, the Owls honored their three graduating seniors (Gater, Leah Fried and Daniela Trigo) and Gater admitted it was difficult to immediately jump into completion for the doubles point.
"There were a lot of tears in the team room right after the ceremony," Gater said. "But everyone managed to collect themselves. I was trying not to think about it being my last match here and just played it point by point."
Gater teamed with doubles partner Liat Zimmermann to clinch the day's first point with an 8-4 win on Court 2. Rice opened doubles play as the Owls' 24th ranked team of Natalie Beazant and Dominique Harmath bounced back from a loss last weekend with an 8-4 win over the Ute's 32nd ranked team of Tereza Bekerova and Paige Miles.
Beazant continued her torrid play in singles, dispatching Utah's 85th ranked Bekerova in straight sets for her 14th consecutive singles win and her 12th in a row in straight sets. Beazant, who entered the weekend ranked 41st in singles, also ran her season mark to 6-2 over ranked players.
Kimberly Anicete added the Owls third point of the day with a straight-set win over Lucia Kovarcikova, setting the stage for Gater's clinching victory.
The win was the 12th consecutive for the Owls (17-4) as they prepare for the Conference USA Championship next weekend at the University of Houston. Play begins on Thursday with final seedings to be announced early this week.
Utah vs Rice
4/13/2013 at Houston, Texas
(Jake Hess Tennis Stadium)
#20 Rice 4, #54 Utah 3
1. #41 Natalie Beazant (RICE) def. #85 Tereza Bekerova (UTAH) 6-3, 6-2
2. Sarah Pham (UTAH) def. #76 Dominique Harmath (RICE) 6-3, 6-2
3. Callie Craig (UTAH) def. Liat Zimmermann (RICE) 6-3, 2-6, 12-10
4. Katie Gater (RICE) def. Natasha Smith (UTAH) 6-4, 6-1
5. Kimberly Anicete (RICE) def. Lucia Kovarcikova (UTAH) 6-4, 6-1
6. Paige Miles (UTAH) def. Solomiya Zinko (RICE) 6-3, 4-5, retired
1. #24 Natalie Beazant/Dominique Harmath (RICE) def. #32 Tereza Bekerova/Paige Miles (UTAH) 8-4
2. Katie Gater/Liat Zimmermann (RICE) def. Elena Najera-Salas/Natasha Smith (UTAH) 8-4
3. Sarah Pham/Callie Craig (UTAH) def. Daniela Trigo/Solomiya Zinko (RICE) 8-3
Utah 10-8; National ranking #54
Rice 17-4; National ranking #20
Order of finish: Doubles (1,3,2); Singles (1,2,5,4,6,3)