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Sports Notebook: Women's tennis takes two of three

By Jonathan Myers     3/31/11 7:00pm

After getting their first victory in five matches against Tyler Junior College (16-2) on Mar. 13, it unfortunately didn't take long for the women's tennis team (11-8) to record their eighth loss of the season, as they fell 4-3 to then-unranked Texas Christian University (4-6) on Mar. 20. However, the result of doubles play was not a sign of things to come, as all three matches were won by the Owls, albeit in close fashion, with all three matches decided by less than two points. After freshmen Dominique Harmath and Kim Anicete picked up their 10th and 11th singles wins of the year, respectively, it seemed that Rice had the match nearly won with a 3-0 lead. But the Horned Frogs, who had won 10 straight against the Owls, were not about to concede the match. The remaining matches were all dominated by TCU early, as each of the first sets of the matches were taken by TCU. But each remaining Rice player rallied to force a third set in her match, needing just one more set in one of the matches to defeat their rivals from Fort Worth. But despite their valiant comeback efforts in the single matches, TCU swept all four tiebreaker sets in dominating fashion, winning two of the sets 6-0 and two by a score of 6-1 to pull out the road victory.

With the stunning comeback by TCU fresh on their minds, it would have been easy for the Owls to falter against Wichita State University (6-8) on Mar. 25. But the Owls clearly had a short memory, as they came out early to take the first two doubles matches and clinch the first point of the match. The points continued to rack up for Rice, as junior Ana Guzman won her singles match 6-0, 6-1, while senior Rebekka Hanle also picked up a two-set victory for the Owls. After a win from Wichita State's Lutfiana Budiharto over Harmath in the first-seeded singles match, Rice's lead now stood at 3-1, with the Owls trailing in two of the three remaining matches. However, Anicete continued her outstanding freshman campaign by scoring a 6-3, 6-3 victory over the Shockers' Delia Damaschin, giving Rice its 10th victory of the year.

Sunday saw Tulane University (8-10) come to town, the first of three straight matches against Conference USA opponents. The match started off on a high note for Rice, as all three doubles matches were won by the Owls, with the closest matches won by a score of 8-5 by both the junior Alex Rasch and Harmath pairing as well as the duo of senior Jessica Jackson and sophomore Daniella Trigo. With one point on the board, the Owls lost no time in putting away Tulane, as Harmath won her match by default after her opponent retired with an injury, and Hanle and Jackson dispatched their foes in two-set wins. With the match already in hand, Anicete picked up her team-leading 13th singles win of the year while Guzman and Rasch dropped their matches, leaving Rice with a 5-2 victory. The win moved Rice up to 61st in the national rankings.

With the C-USA Championship looming in three weeks, the Owls have three matches remaining, two of which are against opponents ranked lower than them, including tomorrow's tilt against the University of Southern Mississippi (6-9).

Jonathan Myers

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