April 18, 2014
Rice opened defense of its Conference USA Women's Tennis championship in efficient fashion, racing to a 4-0 win over host Old Dominion at the Folkes-Stevens Tennis Center in Norfolk, Virginia on Friday. With the win, the second-seeded Owls (15-6) will take on third-seeded North Texas at 11 a.m. Saturday with the winner advancing to the championship match on Sunday.
Owls Down North Texas, 6-1
The Rice Owls closed out their weekend road trip with a 6-1 over North Texas at the Waranch Tennis Complex in Denton on Sunday.
"It's always nice to get that first one under your belt," Rice head coach Elizabeth Schmidt said. "No matter how you prepare, there are always some first-round jitters. I thought the team responded well to the situation (moving indoors and starting with singles) and came out playing very well."
For the second consecutive morning the opening matches of the championship were moved indoors due to the cold. Each of the two morning quarterfinal matches opened with the top four lines of singles.
Dominique Harmath and Katherine Ip raced out to quick opening set wins while Natalie Beazant and Liat Zimmermann followed suite not long after. However the Monarchs rallied to take leads in the second sets before the Owls regained control and closed out the match.
"Credit ODU for the effort they gave today," Schmidt said. "They did not go quietly and really pushed us in the second sets. It was good to see how well we responded to that challenge in order to get the wins."
After Harmath and Ip closed out their matches, Kimberly Anicete and Alison Ho took to the courts to begin their matches, which we abandoned after Beazant and Zimmermann close out their opponents. Schmidt said she was glad that both players had a chance to get on the court for a few games.
"Kim and Alison both looked ready to go and I was glad they were able to get on the courts."
Harmath's win was her 12th in her last 13 matches and moved her past Blair DiSesa on the Rice career win list with 93.
This will mark the 11th time Rice and North Texas have met in women's tennis, but the first time they have met as members of the same conference. Rice holds a 6-4 lead in the all-time series, including a 6-1 win in the last meeting (4/11/10).
Tennis Match Results
Old Dominion University vs Rice
4/18/2014 at Norfolk, Va.
(Folkes Stevens Tennis Center)
#29 Rice 4, Old Dominion University 0
1. Natalie Beazant (RICE) def. Nikol Hristova (ODU) 6-2, 6-4
2. #101 Dominique Harmath (RICE) def. Marijana Novakovic (ODU) 6-1, 6-3
3. #91 Katherine Ip (RICE) def. Ivana Vukovic (ODU) 6-0, 6-3
4. Liat Zimmermann (RICE) def. Melissa Esnal Olguin (ODU) 6-3, 6-1
5. Kimberly Anicete (RICE) vs. Nika Khomolovska (ODU) 1-2, unfinished
6. Alison Ho (RICE) vs. Faith Atiso (ODU) 2-0, unfinished
1. Nikol Hristova/Melissa Esnal Olguin (ODU) vs. #48 Natalie Beazant/Liat Zimmermann (RICE) no result
2. Marijana Novakovic/Faith Atiso (ODU) vs. Dominique Harmath/Alison Ho (RICE) no result
3. Nika Khomolovska/Ivana Vukovic (ODU) vs. Solomiya Zinko/Katherine Ip (RICE) no result
Old Dominion University 13-7
Rice 15-6; National ranking #29
Order of finish: Doubles (); Singles (3,2,4,1)