C-USA Championship opens April 19
Natalie Beazant caped an outstanding regular season with another win over a ranked opponent, while Ana Guzman won her 101st career spring match, but the 36th ranked Rice women’s tennis team could not overcome the loss of the doubles point and fell to #38 TCU, 4-3 at the Bayard H. Friedman Tennis Center in Ft. Worth on Sunday.
“TCU played a solid match today,” Owls head coach Elizabeth Schmidt said. “The doubles point proved pretty critical, but I was proud how our team fought back after losing it and it was just a matter of a few points in the end.”
The start of the match was delayed an hour after storms swept through the area on Sunday morning. When play finally began, the two teams quickly set the tone for nearly four hours of tightly contested tennis.
In the first of two matches featured ranked opponents on each side of the net, TCU’s 72nd ranked duo of Millie Nichols and Olivia Smith upset Rice’s team of Beazant and Dominique Harmath, who came into the weekend ranked 46th, to give TCU the first point of the match.
Beazant and Harmath gained some measure of revenge by coming back to take their singles matches in straight sets.
Beazant, who is currently ranked 46th in singles, ran her season dual record to 20-1, including a 17-1 mark in the No. 1 position by downing 72nd ranked Stefanie Tan, 6-3., 6-2. The win was also Beazant’s sixth in seven matches this season against ranked opponents.
Harmath won her third consecutive dual match with a 6-4, 6-3 win over Smith.
Guzman rallied from a first-set loss to give the Owls their final point of the day, defeating Federica Denti 10-7 in a third set super tiebreak. It was her 45th career win in singles to go along with 56 career spring wins in doubles.
The Owls will now set their sights on the Conference USA Championships, which begin in Memphis on Thursday at the Dunavant-Wellford Tennis Center in Memphis. The Owls will be ridding the momentum of a season that has seen them solidify their highest ranking entering the conference championships since Rice joined C-USA for the 2006 season.
“We’ll take a lot of positives from this whole regular season as we head to Memphis and we are all really looking forward to the conference tournament.
Tennis Match Results
Rice vs TCU
4/15/2012 at Fort Worth, Texas
(Bayard H. Friedman Tennis Center)
#38 TCU 4, #36 Rice 3
1. #46 Natalie Beazant (RICE) def. #72 Stefanie Tan (TCU) 6-3, 6-2
2. Dominique Harmath (RICE) def. Olivia Smith (TCU) 6-4, 6-3
3. Simona Parajova (TCU) def. Katie Gater (RICE) 6-3, 6-4
4. Ana Guzman (RICE) def. Federica Denti (TCU) 3-6, 7-5, 1-0 (10-7)
5. Millie Nichols (TCU) def. Kimberly Anicete (RICE) 6-4, 6-0
6. Gaby Mastromarino (TCU) def. Leah Fried (RICE) 6-0, 6-2
1. #72 Millie Nichols/Olivia Smith (TCU) def. #46 Natalie Beazant/Dominique Harmath (RICE) 8-4
2. Federica Denti/Kelsey Sundaram (TCU) def. Katie Gater/Ana Guzman (RICE) 8-7 (7-5)
3. Gaby Mastromarino/Simona Parajova (TCU) def. Kimberly Anicete/Leah Fried (RICE) 8-5
Rice 14-7; National ranking #36
TCU 16-5; National ranking #38
Order of finish: Doubles (3,1,2); Singles (6,1,2,5,3,4)