Missouri up next on Friday at Jake Hess
Katie Gater ground out a second-set tiebreaker to provide the clinching point as the 28th ranked Rice women’s tennis team opened Conference USA play with a 5-2 win over Tulane at the Goldring Tennis Center in New Orleans on Sunday.
The Owls (12-4, 1-0) were forced to battle from behind from the opening serves of the match, falling behind by 4-0 margins on both No. 2 and No. 3 doubles. Rice’s #1 pair of Natalie Beazant and Dominique Harmath, currently ranked 42nd in the country, finished first with an 8-4 win, but it took rallies at both 2 & 3 to wrestle the match’s first point from the Green Wave.
Rice’s No. 3 pairing of Kimberly Anicete and Leah Fried, who was subbing for an injured Stephanie Nguyen, battled back from a 4-0 deficit to force a tiebreak, but fell 9-8 to knot up the doubles competition. The Owls No. 2 duo of Gater and Ana Guzman bounced back from a 4-0 score of their own to win 8-6 and provide the Owls with the crucial first point of the day.
In singles action, Rice took four of six first sets and moved out to a 3-1 lead on the strength of wins by Beazant and Harmath, while Tulane picked up a win at No. 6. The win was Beazant’s seventh straight and ran her spring dual mark to 15-1 overall and 12-1 after moving into the No. 1 position.
After Tulane closed the gap to 3-2 with a win at #4, the outcome came down to the final sets at #3 and 5. Tulane’s Lindsay Dvorak force Kimberly Anicete to a third set with a tiebreak win in the second stanza. Gater was in danger of moving to a third set as well, trailing 5-4 in her second set tiebreak with Caroline Thornton, before rallying to take the set, win her match and clinch the day for Rice with a 9-7 win.
Anicete then wrapped up the match by winning her third set over Dvorak by a 6-3 score.
The Owls will be back in action at home on Friday with a non-conference matchup with Missouri and then face off against 29th ranked Tulsa next Sunday at Jake Hess Tennis Stadium.
Rice vs Tulane Green Wave
3/25/2012 at New Orleans, La.
(Goldring Tennis Center)
#28 Rice 5, #52 Tulane Green Wave 2
1. #46 Natalie Beazant (RICE) def. Mariam Kurdadze (TLN) 6-1, 6-2
2. Dominique Harmath (RICE) def. Emma Levy (TLN) 6-0, 6-0
3. Katie Gater (RICE) def. Caroline Thornton (TLN) 6-4, 7-6 (9-7)
4. Caroline Magnusson (TLN) def. Ana Guzman (RICE) 6-2, 6-2
5. Kimberly Anicete (RICE) def. Lindsay Dvorak (TLN) 6-4, 6-7 (5-7), 6-3
6. Jenny Hois (TLN) def. Leah Fried (RICE) 6-1, 6-0
1. #42 Natalie Beazant/Dominique Harmath (RICE) def. Mariam Kurdadze/Emma Levy (TLN) 8-4
2. Katie Gater/Ana Guzman (RICE) def. Caroline Thornton/Caroline Magnusson (TLN) 8-6
3. Lindsay Dvorak/Hila Elster (TLN) def. Kimberly Anicete/Leah Fried (RICE) 9-8 (7-3)
Rice 12-4; National ranking #28
Tulane Green Wave 13-5; National ranking #52
Order of finish: Doubles (1,3,2); Singles (6,2,1,4,3,5)