April 21, 2012
New Orleans - Tulane's 53rd-ranked and third-seeded women's tennis team not only saw their run toward a Conference Championship halted, but also saw their six-match win streak come to an end today with a tough 4-2 loss to 40th-ranked and second-seeded Rice during the Conference USA Championship semifinals at the Dunavant-Wellford Tennis Center in Memphis, Tenn.
Tulane drops to 19-6 on the year and lost for the first since in six matches. In fact, the Wave's last loss was to the Owls at home on March 25. TU will now hold out hope for an at-large bid to the 2012 NCAA Tournament. Rice, meanwhile, improved to 14-8 and will battle top-seeded Tulsa in Sunday's C-USA Championship match.
"Obviously today was extremely disappointing with losing in the Conference USA semi- finals, especially after winning the doubles point for the first time in five attempts against Rice," Tulane head coach Terri Sisk said. "We had strong momentum going into singles but couldn't convert some of our 40-15 leads and that is definitely the kiss of death at this level of play. Credit to Rice, they came out fighting and never stopped.
"However, it's hard to stay disappointed for long with having the year we had. With a record of 19-6 on the year, we received our first bye at the conference tournament and also advancing to the semi -finals for the first time since before Hurricane Katrina. A lot of milestones were reached this season and that is all we looked to do and we will continue to build and improve each year. With that as our measuring stick, we definitely succeeded in many ways this season."
The Green Wave came out on fire in doubles and seized the momentum early by claiming the doubles point for the 20th time in 25 matches this season. TU's No. 3 duo of senior Lindsay Dvorak and junior Hila Elster laid the team's first claim to the point with their decisive, 8-1, win over Kimberly Anicete and Stephanie Nguyen.
But Tulane held it together and its No. 2 team of juniors Caroline Magnusson and Caroline Thornton held on late for an 8-5 win over the Owls' Katie Gater/Ana Guzman to take the point and a 1-0 advantage.
Tulane extended its lead to 2-0 courtesy of Dvorak's quick dispatch of Rice's Daniela Trigo at the No. 6 slot, 6-1, 6-0.
But that was as close as the Wave would get. Rice rallied with wins at the No. 1-3 positions and at the No. 5 spot. The Owls clinched the match when Thornton fell to Katie Gater, 6-4, 6-3, at the No. 3 slot.
"It's hard to say goodbye to our four seniors, Mariam, Lindsay, Jessica (Lange) and Marcela (Fonseca), all of whom were very instrumental in bringing this program back. Each of them came to a city and a school that was hit hard by a storm and wanted to help start Tulane's storied tennis tradition again. They have been true team players in every sense of the word and definitely will not be forgotten. I will always be grateful to them for their contributions on the court and in the classroom," Sisk said.
No. 1 #33 Natalie Beazant/Dominique Harmath (Rice) def. Mariam Kurdadze/Emma Levy (TU), 8-4
*No. 2 Caroline Thornton/Caroline Magnusson (TU) def. Katie Gater/Ana Guzman (Rice), 8-5
No. 3 Lindsay Dvorak/Hila Elster (TU) def. Kimberly Anicete/Stephanie Nguyen (Rice), 8-1
*Clinched doubles point
No. 1 #40 Natalie Beazant (Rice) def. Mariam Kurdadze (TU), 6-4, 6-2
No. 2 Dominique Harmath (Rice) def. Emma Levy (TU), 6-4, 6-1
**No. 3 Katie Gater (Rice) def. Caroline Thornton (TU), 6-4, 6-3
No. 4 Caroline Magnusson (TU) vs. Ana Guzman (Rice), 3-6, 4-4 (unfinished)
No. 5 Kimberly Anicete (Rice) def. Jenny Hois (TU), 6-2, 6-4
No. 6 Lindsay Dvorak (TU) def. Daniela Trigo (Rice), 6-1, 6-0
**Clinched match point