The Rice University women's tennis team went 1-1 this past weekend, beating Florida State University 4-3 and losing to the University of Texas, Austin 4-1 at the Intercollegiate Tennis Association kickoff. Rice is now ranked No. 22 with a 2-1 record.
The Owls pulled off a close win against No. 24-ranked FSU thanks to junior Natalie Beazant and senior Dominique Harmath winning third-set tiebreakers.
Head Coach Elizabeth Schmidt said the win against FSU was hard-fought and the team never stopped playing.
"This was a gritty team victory," Schmidt said. "We had great efforts on all six singles lines. They each fought their hearts out all day."
Schmidt said the No. 17 Longhorns posed a greater challenge to the Owls. She said the loss could be attributed to a slow start and inability to maintain consistent momentum, rather than any lack of work or determination.
"We didn't lose this match because of a lack of fight," Schmidt said. "We shook off a slow start in doubles and came out strong in singles. The match was a series of momentum shifts all afternoon. It all came down to a couple of points at the end. But by the same token, you have to give credit to Texas. They fought just as hard, and they pulled out those matches at the end."
Beazant said she needs to adjust to the new scoring rules that quicken the pace of doubles. She said the team needs to adjust to this faster pace.
"I don't know how I feel about the no warm-up rule before singles, because it's quite the bit of a rush," Beazant said. "I guess we'll get used to it. It's just one of those things you've got to adjust to. It's definitely different."
This weekend is shaping up to be filled with highly competitive play for the Owls. After facing No. 65 Louisiana State University on Friday, Rice will play Stanford University, the No. 1 team in the ITA polls and the defending NCAA champion, on Saturday, Feb. 1.
Beazant said the team is trying to achieve a level of consistency. She said the Owls are looking forward to continuing their strong start to the season. To that end, Beazant said they need to keep up with their preparation before matches.
"[We're] making sure we keep match fit," Beazant said.