April 20, 2012
NEW ORLEANS - The Tulane women's tennis team kept their season alive today with a convincing 4-0 win over Houston in the quarterfinal round of the 2012 Conference USA Championships at the Dunavant-Wellford Tennis Center in Memphis, Tenn.
With the win, No. 3-seed Tulane improves to 19-5 and will face the No. 2-seeded Rice Owls (15-7) on Saturday at noon in the C-USA semifinals. Saturday's contest between Tulane and Rice will be a rematch with the only C-USA team to defeat the Green Wave at home this season. The Owls topped the Wave, 5-2, on March 25. Since then, TU has reeled off six straight wins heading into Saturday's contest.
Houston completes its season with a 14-8 overall record and was 0-2 against the Wave this season.
"We are very excited about today's win and moving into the semifinals for the first time since before Hurricane Katrina," Tulane head coach Terri Sisk said. "We are celebrating for the moment but will quickly begin our preparation for a very tough match on Saturday against Rice."
Today's match started out as a tightly contested affair in doubles with the Cougars giving the Wave all they could handle early on. TU's junior tandem of Caroline Magnusson and Caroline Thornton won their 27th match this season with an 8-3 win over Houston's duo of Liselot Koenen and Laura Ring at the No. 2 spot.
However, the Cougars No. 3 team of Maja Kazimieruk and Charlotte Phillips upended the TU duo of senior Lindsay Dvorak and junior Hila Elster, 8-6, and the race for the all-important double points came down to the top spot.
With a chance to take a quick lead on the line, both teams exchanged the lead several times. But it was Tulane's seasoned duo of senior Mariam Kurdadze and junior Emma Levy that prevailed with their 8-6 victory over Giorgia Pozzan and Celia Fraser and their 26th win of the year. The win clinched the doubles point, giving the Wave a 1-0 advantage heading into singles.
Once singles play began, the Wave jumped out early and would have no part of a tight match. Dvorak made quick work of Kazimieruk at the No. 6 slot, 6-4, 6-0, while Kurdadze dispatched Pozzan, 6-1, 6-0, at the top spot in the line-up to spot Tulane a 3-0 lead.
Levy shut the door on the Cougars when she ousted Fraser, 6-3, 6-2, at the No. 2 spot to clinch the match and book a trip to the tournament semifinals.
TU is making its first trip to the semifinal bracket since the 2005 season and will look to advance to the championship match for the first time since that same season, which was the Wave's last C-USA title.
The winner of the Tulane-Rice contest will advance Sunday's championship match to take on the winner of the Tulsa-Memphis contest at 10 a.m. The champion will receive the league's automatic bid to the 2012 NCAA Tournament.
*No. 1 Mariam Kurdadze/Emma Levy (TU) def. Giorgia Pozzan/Celia Fraser (UH), 8-6
No. 2 Caroline Thornton/Caroline Magnusson (TU) def. Liselot Koenen/Laura Ring (UH), 8-3
No. 3 Maja Kazimieruk/Charlotte Phillips (UH) def. Lindsay Dvorak/Hila Elster (TU), 8-6
*Clinched doubles point
No. 1 Mariam Kurdadze (TU) def. Giorgia Pozzan (UH), 6-1, 6-0
**No. 2 Emma Levy (TU) def. Celia Fraser (UH), 6-3, 6-2
No. 3 Caroline Thornton (TU) vs. Bryony Hunter (UH), 6-3, 3-6 (unfinished)
No. 4 Caroline Magnusson (TU) vs. Liselot Koenen (UH), 6-6 (5-1) (unfinished)
No. 5 Jenny Hois (TU) vs. Charlotte Phillips (UH), 5-7, 0-2 (unfinished)
No. 6 Lindsay Dvorak (TU) vs. Maja Kazimieruk (UH), 6-4, 6-0
**Clinched match point
2012 C-USA WOMEN'S TENNIS CHAMPIONSHIP SCHEDULE/DUNAVANT-WELLFORD TENNIS CENTER/MEMPHIS, TENN.
SEMIFINALS - Saturday, April 21
Match 9: (1) Tulsa vs. (4) Memphis - 12 p.m./A-B Courts*
Match 10: (2) Rice vs. (3) Tulane - 12 p.m./A-B Courts*
CHAMPIONSHIP - Sunday, April 22
Match 11: winner of Match 9 vs. winner of Match 10 - 10 a.m./A Courts
* The highest remaining seed will play on the Bank A Courts.