Savannah Durkin improved to a team-leading 11-3 in dual singles with a 7-5, 6-1 win on court four.

Women's Tennis

Doubles Rally Sparks Owls Past Bulls

April 3, 2016

Box Score

by Chuck Pool (

Savannah Durkin and Solomiya Zinko fought back from match point to win a tiebreaker for the doubles point and the Rice women's tennis team carried that momentum forward into singles to down South Florida 4-0 on Sunday and snap a six-match losing streak for the Owls.

Facing a higher-ranked team celebrating its Senior Day, the 64th ranked Owls evened their season record at 8-8 by winning for the first time since the downed Brown on March 5. Rice head coach Elizabeth Schmidt, who has seen her team fall just short on several occasions over the past four weeks, said Sunday's outcome over No. 56 South Florida was the payoff for their continued hard work each week in practice.

"I'm really proud of the team for their perseverance," Schmidt said "It was a total team effort today. We showed guts and can-do attitudes on every court and that translated to very solid play. We look forward to returning home and building on this."

After the two teams split matches on courts one and two in doubles, the Owls were facing a match point on court three where Durkin and Zinko were at deuce and trailing 5-3. But the duo fought back to force a tiebreaker and then emerged with the first point with a 7-5 in the extra action.

The surge of energy provided by the tiebreak win carried over to singles where Rice took four of six first sets and eventually won at least one set on all six.

Durkin improved to a team-leading 11-3 in dual singles with a 7-5, 6-1 win on court four to double the lead and freshman Emily Smith kept the momentum rolling by closing out Ana Roman Dominquez with a 7-2 win in a second set tiebreak.

While Zinko and Katherine Ip were rebounding from first set losses to force third sets on courts six and two, Lindsey Hodge rendered further play moot by clinching the match with a 6-3, 6-3 win over Jessica Chaves on court one.

Rice returns home for the first time in three weeks on April 10 when they host longtime rival Tulsa at noon as part of a simultaneous dual with the Rice men.

Tennis Match Results
Rice vs USF
Apr 3, 2016 at Tampa, Fla.
(USF Varsity Tennis Courts)
#64 Rice 4, #56 USF 0

Singles competition
1. Lindsey Hodge (RICE) def. Jessica Chaves (USF) 6-3, 6-3
2. Vera Bessonova (USF) vs. Katherine Ip (RICE) 6-3, 2-6, unfinished
3. Emily Smith (RICE) def. Ana Roman Dominguez (USF) 6-2, 7-6 (7-2)
4. Savannah Durkin (RICE) def. Olga Martinez (USF) 7-5, 6-1
5. Juliana Cardoso (USF) vs. Alison Ho (RICE) 4-6, 6-5, unfinished
6. Nicole Dzenga (USF) vs. Solomiya Zinko (RICE) 6-4, 2-6, 2-1, unfinished

Doubles competition
1. Emily Smith/Katherine Ip (RICE) def. Vera Bessonova/Olga Martinez (USF) 6-2
2. Juliana Cardoso/Jessica Chaves (USF) def. Lindsey Hodge/Alison Ho (RICE) 6-3
3. Savannah Durkin/Solomiya Zinko (RICE) def. Nicole Dzenga/Chloe Murphy (USF) 7-6 (7-5)

Match Notes:
Rice 8-8; National ranking #64
USF 13-6; National ranking #56
Order of finish: Doubles (2,1,3); Singles (3,4,1)

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