The 20th ranked Rice women's tennis team shook off a sluggish start and extended several winning streaks by dropping Santa Clara 4-1, at the Matador Tennis Complex in Northridge, California on Sunday.
The win was the Owls (15-4) 10th consecutive dual win while Natalie Beazant and Dominique Harmath won their 13th consecutive doubles match. Beazant also extended her singles winning streak to 12 with a straight set win over the Bronco's 26th ranked Katie Le.
"Coming into this match we knew Santa Clara would be a formidable challenge," Rice head coach Elizabeth Schmidt said. "I was proud of the way our team stepped up and fought, especially when the going got tough in that doubles point."
The Broncos jumped out early in doubles, taking leads of 3-0 on Court 2 and 4-0 on Court 3 before the Owls found their footing. Rice's 17th ranked duo of Beazant and Harmath also fell behind 3-2, then won five of the next seven games to run their season record to 17-2. Daniela Trigo and Solomiya Zinko clinched the doubles point with an 8-6 win on Court 2.
After Santa Clara tied the match with a win on Court 6, but Beazant put the Owls ahead to stay with her win over Le in straight sets. During her current 12-match winning streak, Beazant has won the last 10 in straight sets, with three of those straight set wins coming against ranked players. She won her fourth consecutive match vs. ranked players to improve her season record to 5-2.
"That was a nice win for Nat," Schmidt said. "She really set the tone early in the match and played smart, disciplined tennis."
Zinko padded the lead to 3-1 with a 6-2, 6-1 win on Court 5 and Harmath followed with the clinching point with a 6-1, 6-4 win on Court 2.
The Owls will return to Jake Hess on Saturday when they host 50th ranked SMU at 11 a.m.
Santa Clara vs. Rice
3/31/2013 at Northridge, CA
(Matador Tennis Center)
#20 Rice 4, Santa Clara 1
1. #62 Natalie Beazant (RICE) def. #26 Katie Le (SANTACLA) 6-0, 6-3
2. #72 Dominique Harmath (RICE) def. Kelly Lamble (SANTACLA) 6-1, 6-4
3. Katie Gater (RICE) vs. Chelby Cooke (SANTACLA) 6-2, 3-6, 2-2, unfinished
4. Kimberly Anicete (RICE) vs. Delphine Rouvillois (SANTACLA) 2-6, 6-1, 4-3, unfinished
5. Solomiya Zinko (RICE) def. Maggie McGeorge (SANTACLA) 6-2, 6-1
6. Stephanie Skaras (SANTACLA) def. Stephanie Nguyen (RICE) 6-1, 6-2
1. #17 Natalie Beazant/Dominique Harmath (RICE) def. Katie Le/Jessica Agra (SANTACLA) 8-5
2. Daniela Trigo/Solomiya Zinko (RICE) def. Kelly Lamble/Maggie McGeorge (SANTACLA) 8-6
3. Katie Gater/Stephanie Nguyen (RICE) vs. Delphine Rouvillois/Stephanie Skaras (SANTACLA) 8-8, unfinished
Santa Clara 7-7
Rice 15-4; National ranking #20
Order of finish: Doubles (1,2); Singles (6,1,5)