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Tennis notebook: Men's tennis sweeps Lamar and Prairie View A&M, Women's tennis puts away Islanders easily

By Jonathan Myers     1/20/11 6:00pm

Men's tennis sweeps Lamar and Prairie View A&M

With the fall season and its haphazard collection of invitational tournaments behind them, the men's tennis team is finally able to focus on its goal of defending its Conference USA crown. If first impressions are any indication, the Owls are well on their way to hoisting the trophy again on April 23 in Tulsa, Okla. The 30th-ranked Rice squad dominated Lamar University and Prairie View A&M University last Saturday at Jake Hess Tennis Stadium, defeating the Cardinals 7-0 and the Panthers 5-0. Newcomers freshman Peter Frank and sophomore Harry Fowler led the way for Rice as the first and second seeds, as Frank defeated Rob Lee in two sets, 7-6 (7-4) and 6-2, while Fowler stormed past Denis Ermilov, 6-4, 6-2. Frank's one-point victory in his first set was the closest any Cardinal would come to taking a set from an Owl, as juniors Christian Saravia, Sam Garforth-Bles and Isamu Tachibana lost only a combined 12 games over six sets. Senior Oscar Podlewski also held his own as the third seed, besting Carlos Valdenebr, 6-3, 6-3. Rice wasn't finished, however, as the aforementioned six stars paired up to win three doubles matches that consisted of only one set. Podlewski and Fowler won 8-3 in the top-seeded match, Frank and Garforth- Bles overpowered Diego Snyder and Valdenebr 8-4 and Tachibana and Saravia finished the competition with an 8-4 victory.

In the afternoon, Rice looked to finish off Prairie View A&M quickly due to the oncoming rain. As a result of the weather, the doubles matches were canceled, and only five of the six singles matches finished, with Frank left without a decision despite being just two games away from clinching his match. Frank's teammates made the best of the weather, however, and made the matches against Lamar look close in comparison. Sophomore Jonathan Chang replaced Podlewski as the five seed and swept Jamaal James, 6-0, 6-0. Junior Andy Wang came in for Saravia and won his match handily, losing one out of 13 games. The remainder of the matches saw the Owls lose just seven games, with both Tachibana and Fowler dropping just one apiece.

With their tuneup matches against weaker competition finished, the Owls are en route to Miami, Fla. to take on a 44th-ranked University of Miami squad, which Rice bested 6-1 last year in Houston.

Women's tennis puts away Islanders easily

Not to be outdone by their male counterparts, the women's tennis team made quick work of Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi on Tuesday, sweeping the Islanders, 7-0 at Jake Hess Tennis Stadium. The 48th-ranked Owls raced out to a 1-0 lead after taking all three doubles matches. Junior Ana Guzman and senior Rebekka Hanle dropped Doris Kuselj and Bianca Discordia 8-2. Senior Jessica Jackson and sophomore Daniella Trigo defeated Sandra Burges and Stefania Nicolae in a tight match, 8-6, but not before junior Alex Rasch and freshman Dominique Harmath took out LeAnne Mascall and Mia Matuszak, 8-2.

After a short break, the Owls took to their individual matches, losing just seven games in five of their six matches. Nicolae proved to be a tough opponent for Jackson, as the first set went to 13 games, with Jackson finally coming out on top 7-6 (7-4). The second set proved easier for Jackson, as she won easily, 6-3. The Owls travel to Austin to take on the University of Texas at noon tomorrow.

- Jonathan Myers

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