On a day where the entire Rice University women's tennis lineup was honored by Conference USA, the Owls learned that they will travel to the Baylor regional in Waco for the First and Second Rounds of the NCAA Tournament. The Rice faces Summit League champion Denver in the opener, with the winner of that match advancing to play No. 14 Baylor or Texas A&M-Corpus Christi.
The regional takes place on May 9-10. The final 16 teams in the NCAA Tournament will travel Athens, Ga. for the duration of the championship, beginning with the Round of 16 on May 15 and concluding with the National Championship on May 20.
Head coach and newly-minted 2014 Conference USA Coach of the Year Elizabeth Schmidt said, "It's really exciting. I'm just really happy for the team, all the hard work over the course of this year has paid off. It's fun for us to sit in there and watch the show. It's a fun day."
"It's really nice to stay in Texas; we've been shipped away the last couple of times. It's exciting to know we might have some fans be able to make the trip and stay close to home. Winning the conference tournament was huge so we go into the NCAA Tournament with a lot of confidence. It's important to have good preparation for the next two weeks."
Denver brings a 14-8 record to the tournament, including a five-match winning streak. The Pioneers swept South Dakota and Fort Wayne to win the league title. In an interesting twist, coach Christian Thompson played for Schmidt (then an assistant coach) at Notre Dame.
Rice has faced 10 of the 64 teams in the bracket with a 7-5 record. Rice fell to Baylor twice and topped TAMU-CC. C-USA runner up Tulsa earned an at-large bid and will head to the Stanford Regional.