May 21, 2013
NCAA Championship Central
Rice's Natalie Beazant and Dominique Harmath will carve out another piece of Rice women's tennis history on Wednesday when they both compete in the 2013 NCAA Women's Tennis Singles Championship, which are being held at the Atkins Tennis Center at the University of Illinois, Champaign.
This will mark the first time in school history that two Owls have competed in the women's singles championship.
"Nat and Nique have had a good week of practice and are really looking forward to getting the tournament started tomorrow," Rice head women's tennis coach Elizabeth Schmidt said. "They've worked very hard this season to be here and it's exciting to have two players representing Rice the singles draw."
Harmath, who was ranked 61st in the last ITA rankings, will open the Owls action at 9 a.m. on Wednesday when she faces 40th ranked Beatrice Gumulya of Clemson. Beazant, currently one spot behind Gumulya, will take the eight seed in the tournament, Anett Schutting of California.
Beazant had previously qualified for the tournament but her doubles partner, Harmath, had to wait until Monday to learn that she had earned a spot in the field. She was the second alternate for the singles competition but earned a spot in the field of 64 after several qualifiers withdrew.
This will be Beazant's second consecutive appearance in NCAA singles, matching Wendy Wood as the only Owls to compete twice. She became the first Owl since Wood in 1986 to win an NCAA singles match when she downed 2011 NCAA singles finalist Stacey Tan of Stanford, 7-5, 6-2 in Athens, Georgia.
Beazant and Harmath will also compete in NCAA doubles for the second consecutive year, but drew a hefty opening challenge in the tournament's top seeded team from Georgia, Kate Fuller and Silvia Garcia.
Last season, they recorded the school's first win in NCAA Women's Doubles when they defeated Alabama's 41st ranked pair of Antonia Foehse and Mary Anne Macfarlane6-1, 6-4.
The win was the first for the Owls after dropping opening matches in 1984, 1986 and 1998. In their last year of competition in the AIAW in 1982, Rice's doubles team of Tracie Blumentritt and Susan Rudd captured the doubles national title.