Owls face Memphis on Sunday in Semifinals
The Rice women’s tennis team could not have picked a better moment to pick up their first win of the year when losing the doubles point.
After Tulane jumped out to a 1-0 lead in doubles, Elizabeth Schmidt’s 40th ranked Owls righted themselves to storm back and take a 4-2 win over the Green Wave and advance to their first C-USA Women’s Championship since they stunned the field in 2006 to win the title as a seventh seed.
“I can’t say enough about the heart and fight our whole team showed today,” Schmidt said. “Tulane really came out on a mission during that doubles point and took it to us at 2 and 3. Yet, down 1-0 our team stayed poised and disciplined. We stepped up and pulled out a lot of 6-4 1st sets and I think that was the difference today.”
The Owls had lost the doubles point only six times during the 2012 regular season, but had never overcome the initial deficit. The Owls had downed Tulane 5-2 during the regular season, with four of those points coming from singles matches. They knew were aware of the challenge, but also aware of their previous success, and they set to work in the first sets of singles to overcome the early misstep.
They captured the first set in five of six matches. But Tulane turned its one winning set into its second point when they closed out the win at No. 6 to push their lead to 2-0.
Freshman Natalie Beazant staged her on rally from a 4-1 deficit in the first set to race past Tulane’s Mariam Kurdadze and give the Owls their first point with her 14th consecutive win in singles this year.
Kimberly Anicete and Dominique Harmath followed with wins to put the Owls on top, 3-2. The chase for the final point was on between Katie Gater and Ana Guzman who each moved out to 4-1 leads on courts 3 and 4. Gater closed out Caroline Thornton by a 6-3 count to close out the match and send the Owls to a 10 a.m. match up against 26th ranked Tulsa.
The Owls dropped a 5-2 decision to the Golden Hurricane this season and have lost seven consecutive matches dating back to a 4-3 win by the Owls in 2006, the last year the Owls reached the C-USA title match.
First serve is scheduled for 10 a.m.
Tulane Green Wave vs Rice
Apr 20, 2012 at Memphis, Tenn.
(Dunavant-Wellford Tennis Center)
#40 Rice 4, #53 Tulane Green Wave 2
1. #40 Natalie Beazant (RICE) def. Mariam Kurdadze (TLN) 6-4, 6-2
2. Dominique Harmath (RICE) def. Emma Levy (TLN) 6-4, 6-1
3. Katie Gater (RICE) def. Caroline Thornton (TLN) 6-4, 6-3
4. Ana Guzman (RICE) vs. Caroline Magnusson (TLN) 6-3, 4-4, unfinished
5. Kimberly Anicete (RICE) def. Jenny Hois (TLN) 6-2, 6-4
6. Lindsay Dvorak (TLN) def. Daniela Trigo (RICE) 6-1, 6-0
1. #33 Natalie Beazant/Dominique Harmath (RICE) def. Mariam Kurdadze/Emma Levy (TLN) 8-4
2. Caroline Thornton/Caroline Magnusson (TLN) def. Katie Gater/Ana Guzman (RICE) 8-5
3. Lindsay Dvorak/Hila Elster (TLN) def. Kimberly Anicete/Stephanie Nguyen (RICE) 8-1
Tulane Green Wave 19-6 (4-1 C-USA); National ranking #53
Rice 16-7 (2-1 C-USA); National ranking #40
Order of finish: Doubles (3,1,2); Singles (6,1,5,2,3)