April 29, 2014
Conference USA Women's Tennis Awards
IRVING, Texas - Repeat Conference USA champion Rice University women's tennis placed six players on the singles all-conference teams, was honored for the top doubles squad and also claimed top honors for Coach of the Year and Freshman of the Year, the league office announced on Tuesday.
For the third year in a row, Elizabeth Schmidt was named Conference USA Coach of the Year while her NCAA Tournament-bound squad claimed 10 honors for singles and doubles play both throughout the season and at the conference tournament. Highlighting the individual awards, Katherine Ip was named C-USA Freshman of the Year while Natalie Beazant earned Outstanding Singles Player of the Championship honors and paired with Liat Zimmermann to garner the Outstanding Doubles Team of the Championship award as well.
The Beazant/Zimmerman pairing was also named first team all-conference for doubles. The duo posted an 8-4 record and climbed as high as No. 49 in the ITA rankings.
Senior Dominique Harmath joined Beazant, Ip and Zimmerman on the singles first team, while Kimberly Anicete and Alison Ho were named second team all-conference.
Also in doubles, Harmath/Ho as well as Ip and partner Solomiya Zinko claimed second team honors.
Beazant completed her third season at No. 1 with a 10-9 record and has a career mark of 84-26 (.779). The junior ranks 10th in school history with 84 career singles wins and closed the season in a strong fashion, winning her last four matches, including a 3-0 mark at the C-USA Championship to run her career mark to 7-0 in the event. She outscored opponents 36-14 in three singles matches at the championship and scored the first two of the Owls four points against Tulsa in the championship match, clinching the doubles point with Zimmermann (8-3), then finishing first in singles (6-3, 6-2). This marks her third-straight season as a first-team all-conference selection.
Four-time all-conference honoree Harmath is also on the league's first team for a third-straight season, as she posted a career-best 18-4 dual mark in singles. The Toronto native won 11 consecutive matches down the stretch. She was 2-0 at C-USA Championship and 8-1 in her career at the tournament. She ranks sixth all-time at Rice with a 94-41 mark (.696) and was C-USA Women's Tennis Athlete of the Week for week of March 25-31. Earlier in April, she won the Joyce Pounds Hardy Award as Rice's top female student athlete.
Ip capped her first year of collegiate competition by providing the clinching point in the C-USA Championship match. The Hong Kong native finished her first season with a 16-4 record in singles and closed the year with wins in 12 of her last 13 decisions. The rookie provided the clinching point in seven of her 16 wins, including wins over No. 29 Oklahoma State and No. 19 Tulsa.
Combined with Zinko, the duo posted an 8-4 record, including 4-1 in their last five outings.
Zimmerman finished the year 12-8 in singles, including a 9-5 mark at the No. 4 position. She was 2-1 at C-USA Championship and clinched the Owls' win 4-3 over No. 19 Auburn at Blue-Gray Classic. The C-USA Women's Tennis Athlete of the Week winner for week of February 18-23 won all three matches at Blue-Gray Classic.
Anicete was one of the two senior leaders of the Owls and completed the regular season with 12-8 dual mark in singles and a 96-39 career singles mark, which ranks fifth in school history. She won three of four tiebreak sets during the year and split a part of match deciding tiebreaks in the early going.
Ho ranked second on the team with a 17-4 record in singles this spring and became unstoppable down the stretch, winning her last 10 matches. The freshman extended the Owls' early lead to 3-0 in the C-USA title match with a 6-2, 6-1 win on court six. The Thousand Oaks, Calif. native won both of her three-set matches during the year.
Ho and Harmath posted a 7-3 record in doubles.
Rice will head to the NCAA Tournament and Baylor Regional on May 9. The Owls face off with Denver in the First Round.