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Women’s tennis three match win streak comes to an end

By Spencer Moffat     2/20/19 12:54am

The Rice women’s tennis team extended its win streak to three in dual matches with a 4-0 victory against Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi on Feb. 13. 

Rice secured the doubles point for the sixth time in seven matches this year as sophomores Michaela Haet and Linda Huang won their doubles match, 6-4. That win was followed by a 6-1 win by freshman Anastasia Smirnova and junior Priya Niezgoda, which clinched the doubles point for the Owls. 

Singles play was much shorter than normal, as sophomore Anna Bowtell won her fifth singles match of the spring. Niezgoda won in even more convincing fashion, picking up her fifth win by allowing her opponent just one game in each of the two sets. Huang, a transfer from the University of Colorado, ended the day by winning (6-1, 6-3) to clinch a 4-0 victory for Rice. 

Head coach Elizabeth Schmidt said she was proud of the team’s steadfastness in singles play.

“The team did a nice job of taking care of business, especially in singles,” Schmidt said. “We came out with good energy and good focus.”  

The Owls ended their homestand by traveling to the University of Kansas to face the No. 12-ranked team in the nation, according to Oracle/International Tennis Assocation. 

The Owls fell 6-3 in their first doubles match, but the pair of Smirnova and Niezgoda then secured their sixth doubles victory. This was to no avail, however, as the Jayhawks emerged with the doubles point by winning a tiebreaker on Court Three. Not only did the Owls lose the doubles point, but they also lost Haet, who was unable to play any singles matches due to injury. 

Kansas stormed out to take the first set on all six singles courts and held its momentum to win on five of the courts. However, the Owls did not get shut out in singles, as Niezgoda rallied to even her match against Nina Khmelnitckaia by winning a tiebreaker in the second set. She followed that with an 11-9 win in the final set to score a point for the Owls. 

The Owls look to bounce back from the 6-1 loss to the University of Kansas, returning home to face the University of Texas-Arlington Saturday at 11 a.m. 

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