April 23, 2006
GARLAND, Texas -- Seventh-seeded Rice earns its first league tournament title in school history capturing the 2006 Conference USA Women's Tennis crown with a 4-1 win over host and top-seeded SMU on Sunday at the Garland Tennis Center. The Owls pulled off three consecutive upsets during the four-day tourney over league opponents Marshall, Houston and SMU en route to the title victory and C-USA's automatic bid to the 2006 NCAA Tournament.
"I am at a loss for words," said Rice head coach Roger White. "This is a wonderful thing for both the team and our school. The girls worked hard all year and really deserve the win today. This (victory) has helped elevate our program to the next level. We've struggled in doubles all year, so we told our kids to just pretend we were down 0-1. The team played terrific up and down the courts."
The Rice victory not only marks the first time a seventh-seed has won the championship match, but also the first time a seventh-seed has earned a title match appearance. Last year, the Owls advanced to the championship match of the WAC tournament for the first time in school history.
Rice captured the doubles point with a tough 8-6 win at the top spot. The Mustangs and Owls split at two and three doubles, before senior tandem of Blair DiSesa and Medeja Egic took control for Rice. The pair defeated SMU's Svetlana Kouzmenko and Natalia Bubien 8-6 for the go-ahead point.
At two doubles, Monica Neveklovska and Kristin Reid beat Owls' Kimberley Patenaude and Alanna Rodgers with an 8-3 Mustang victory, while Tiffany Lee and Christine Dao knotted the teams up 2-2. The sophomore duo beat the SMU twin sister pair of Brooke and Halley Rambally, 8-2.
Feeding off of the doubles victory, DiSesa quickly extended the Owls lead, 2-0, with a win over Kouzmenko. DiSesa, who entered the C-USA Championship as the highest-ranked singles player (69th in the latest ITA ranking), needs only two more singles wins to tie fourth-place on Rice's all-time singles victories list.
The teams then split the next two singles matches. Egic defeated Mustang rookie Reid at four singles, 6-2, 6-0, while Halley Rambally took the first and only SMU point of the day with a 6-1, 6-3 victory over freshman Emily Braid at six.
However, it was Rodgers who once again came through for the Owls. The freshman clinched the team match-point at five singles in Friday's quarterfinals win against second-seeded Marshall. Rodgers then came off the courts first in Rice's 4-1 defeat over crosstown rival and third-seeded Houston in the semifinals. The Nassau, Bahamas native decided the championship victory on Sunday with a 6-4, 6-3 win over Brooke Rambally.
"I have never been more proud of a group of people in my entire life," said DiSesa. "We had a subpar start to the season, but we recovered and today had one of the best matches we've ever played."
The loss breaks a 12-match win streak for the 51st-ranked Mustangs and avenges a 4-3 setback the Owls collected earlier in the season.
Rice 4, #51 SMU 1
1. DiSesa/Egic (RU) def. Kouzmenko/ Bubien (SMU), 8-6
2. Reid/ Neveklovska (SMU) def. Kimberley Patenaude/Rodgers (RU), 8-4
3. Lee/Dao (RU) def. Rambally/Rambally (SMU), 8-2
1. #69 Blair DiSesa (RU) def. Lana Kouzmenko (SMU), 6-3, 6-0
2. Christine Dao (RU) vs. Natalia Bubien (SMU), 3-6, 6-1, 1-3 DNF
3. Tiffany Lee (RU) vs. Georgiana Marta (SMU), 6-1, 1-6, 1-0 DNF
4. Medeja Egic (RU) def. KristenReid (SMU), 6-2, 6-0
* 5. Alanna Rodgers (RU) def. Brooke Rambally (SMU), 6-4, 6-3
6. Halley Rambally (SMU) def. Emily Braid (RU), 6-1, 6-3
Order of Finish: D2, D3, D1, S1, S4, S6, S5
Solo Looks to Add a Fourth
04/21/2016 - Solo Zinko holds a special distinction among her Rice women’s tennis teammates, in that she is the only one who has played in a Conference...
Bennett and Ip Named to C-USA All-Academic Team
04/19/2016 - Tommy Bennett and Katherine Ip, two juniors who have played major roles in the Rice men’s and women’s tennis nationally ranked efforts ...
Second Seeded Owls Open C-USA Play on Friday
04/18/2016 - Elizabeth Schmidt’s Rice women’s tennis team will open their pursuit of an unprecedented fourth straight title Conference USA title on ...
Zinko Shines in Senior Day Shutout
04/17/2016 - Solo Zinko picked up wins in doubles and singles and her Rice women’s tennis teammates matched her efforts as the 41st ranked Owls closed out...
Bears Fight off Owls
04/13/2016 - Katherine Ip ground out a three set win in singles and combined with Emily Smith to rally and grab the doubles point, but host the host Baylor...
Durkin Snares C-USA Weekly Award
04/12/2016 - Savannah Durkin’s three-set victory to clinch Rice’s 4-3 comeback win over No. 29 Tulsa has allowed the sophomore from Miramar, Florida...
Singles Spark Owls Win
04/10/2016 - After more than three hours of tennis, the latest installment in the rivalry between Rice and Tulsa in women’s tennis came down to a...
Promotions Highlight Sunday Doubleheader
04/08/2016 - The Rice men's and women's tennis teams will face familiar top 20 opponents when they host their third simultaneous dual of the 2016 at noon on...
- Top Videos /
- Online Store