The 12th ranked Stanford Cardinal started fast and never gave 22nd ranked Rice any opening to mount a comeback, ending the Owls season with a 4-0 decision in the second round of the 2013 NCAA Women's Team Championship at the Taube Family Tennis Stadium in Palo Alto, Calif. on Saturday.
The Cardinal grabbed the doubles point, then unleashed a singles lineup that featured five ranked players. Stanford won five of six first sets in singles, with sophomore Liat Zimmermann providing the only win. However Katie Gater, playing her final match, and Kimberly Anicete, who sent the Owls into the round of 32 with a three-set win on Friday, both snapped back to win second sets. But their teammates could not muster any further challenges and Stanford wrapped up a berth in the Sweet 16.
The loss snapped a 16-match winning streak that had propelled the Owls to the second-highest regular season ranking in school history in addition to the Conference USA title. Rice finished the year 21-5 and will await its final ranking when the final ITA poll is released on June 5. Last season the Owls would up the season ranked 30th.
"While we are disappointed we weren't able to win this match, we are proud of the way our team fought from start to finish and left everything out there today," Rice head coach Elizabeth Schmidt said. "In the end, Stanford just played better than us. It's been a fun journey this season and, while we are sad to see it end, our team can hold their heads high because of the way they competed every time they stepped on the court and because of everything they were able to accomplish this year."
Tennis Match Results
Rice vs Stanford
5/11/2013 at Palo Alto, CA
(Taube Family Tennis Stadium)
#12 Stanford 4, #22 Rice 0
1. #13 Nicole Gibbs (STANFORD) def. #41 Natalie Beazant (RICE) 6-2, 6-2
2. Kristie Ahn (STANFORD) def. Dominique Harmath (RICE) 6-4, 6-2
3. Krista Hardebeck (STANFORD) vs. Liat Zimmermann (RICE) 3-6, 6-3, unfinished
4. Stacey Tan (STANFORD) vs. Katie Gater (RICE) 6-4, 3-6, 2-0, unfinished
5. #92 Ellen Tsay (STANFORD) vs. Kimberly Anicete (RICE) 7-5, 0-6, unfinished
6. Natalie Dillon (STANFORD) def. Solomiya Zinko (RICE) 6-3, 6-1
1. #8 Kristie Ahn/Nicole Gibbs (STANFORD) def. #23 Natalie Beazant/Dominique Harmath (RICE) 8-4
2. #28 Stacey Tan/Ellen Tsay (STANFORD) def. Katie Gater/Liat Zimmermann (RICE) 8-0
3. Natalie Dillon/Krista Hardebeck (STANFORD) vs. Daniela Trigo/Solomiya Zinko (RICE) 5-6, unfinished
Rice 21-5; National ranking #22
Stanford 18-4; National ranking #12
Order of finish: Doubles (2,1); Singles (1,2,6)
Second Round NCAA Championship