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Women's Tennis sweeps away Texas Pan-American

By Marie Walsh     4/12/12 7:00pm

The women's tennis team played their last home game of the season against the University of Texas-Pan American on April 7. The game was a great victory for Rice University after two difficult losses the week prior, the first in a close tie-breaking match against the University of Missouri, 4-3, and the second against Conference USA competitor University of Tulsa, 5-2. After last week's matches, Head Coach Elizabeth Schmidt was highly impressed with the team's perseverance in training.

"I think our team did a nice job rebounding from the Tulsa and Missouri matches," Schmidt said. "They came out ready to work in practice this past week, and that carried over into the match against Pan Am."

Rice swept the competition with an outstanding score of 7-0. All of the Owls in their singles' first sets won convincingly, 6-0. Schmidt said she was pleased with the discipline and focus her team displayed in the beginning of the match.

"Sometimes when you are playing an opponent who is struggling, it is easy to lose your own intensity, but our team did a nice job taking care of business on Saturday," Schmidt said.

Junior Katie Gater led the winning streak followed by freshman standout Natalie Beazant, senior Ana Guzman and sophomores Kimberly Anicete, Leah Fried and Dominique Harmath. Not only did Rice sweep singles, they also swept doubles. The unstoppable duo Beazant and Harmath recorded the first doubles victory, followed by Guzman and Gater and Anicete and Fried. Rice is currently ranked No. 36 in Intercollegiate Tennis Association rankings.

This game did not only represent a strong comeback for Rice but also marked a season record of 13-6. For Guzman, this final home game was especially meaningful, considering this game represented the end of her tennis career at Rice. Schmidt was highly complimentary of Guzman's contribution to the tennis department for everything she had done in her career.

"Ana Guzman has been a tremendous asset to our program the past four years," Schmidt said. "We appreciate all that she has done for Rice tennis. It is always sad to say farewell to a senior at their last home match, but we are also very excited for what lies ahead for her."

With two games left in the regular season, the Owls have crucial encounters with Southern Methodist University on Saturday and Texas Christian University on Sunday. Schmidt believes that it is incredibly important that the team keeps up their momentum.

"We just need to seize all of them as an opportunity to get better and go out and compete hard," Schmidt said.

Schmidt is greatly anticipating the competition between her team and these formidable opponents.

"We are looking forward to the challenge, and I've been pleased with what I've seen from our team in practice this week," Schmidt said.

SMU is currently 1-14, and TCU is 14-5.

These games are the only two left before the three-day C-USA championship, which starts on April 19. This year it will be held at the University of Memphis in Tennessee.

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