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Thursday, February 22, 2024 — Houston, TX

Women’s tennis trounces Houston on Senior Day

Photo courtesy Rice Athletics

By Reed Myers     4/12/22 11:24pm

The Rice women’s tennis team returned home Saturday where they made quick work of the University of Houston, beating the Cougars 4-0 on the Owls’ Senior Day. According to head coach Elizabeth Schmidt, she was encouraged with how her team responded on Saturday following their 4-3 defeat a week prior to No. 42 Florida International University.

“[I] thought it was a solid match across the board from our team,” Schmidt said. “It was encouraging to see how the team rebounded after a tough loss last weekend to FIU, and I think that resilience will continue to serve us well as we head into the next few weeks.” 

The Owls opened the match by taking the doubles point following a 6-0 win from junior Maria Budin and senior Diae El Jardi and a 6-4 victory from senior Anastasia Smirnova and freshman Allison Zipoli. This marked the third consecutive match that the Owls have taken the doubles point to start the competition. 

After taking the first point of the morning, senior Victoria Smirnova, playing in her final home match, convincingly took the first singles point, winning 2-0 while only conceding one game in the two sets. Sophomore Federica Trevisan and Zipoli each followed up Smirnova’s victory with 2-0 victories of their own, giving the Owls a 4-0 win over the Cougars.

According to Schmidt, she was thrilled to send out her seniors, Victoria and Anastasia Smirnova and Anna Bowtell, on a high note, especially considering everything they have meant to the program. 

“It is always nice to send our seniors out with a team victory on senior day and to do it against a tough opponent like Houston makes it even better,” Schmidt said. “[Victoria], [Anastasia] and Anna have meant so much to our program. Obviously their results on the court speak for themselves but they have represented Rice with class on and off the court and been great ambassadors for our program.”

The Owls, who are now 13-6 on the year, will close out their regular season this Saturday when they travel up to Dallas to take on Southern Methodist University. The Mustangs handed the Owls their first defeat of the season when they took the match 4-2 back on Jan. 28. 

According to Schmidt, her team will look to build off of the positives from the UH match and other recent matches to try and avenge their earlier loss to the Mustangs.

“There are definitely a lot of positives to build on from our match against Houston, and now our main focus is preparing for SMU on Saturday,” Schmidt said. “We lost to them earlier in the year and want to use the experience of that match as well as all the work we have put in this whole season in order to be best prepared to go into their place and pull off the upset.”

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