March 3, 2017
by Chuck Pool (email@example.com) -
After more than a month on the road, the 34th ranked Rice men's tennis team returned to familiar surroundings on Friday and extended their dual winning streak to seven, downing Abilene Christian, 4-1, and Incarnate Word, 4-0 at the George R. Brown Tennis Center.
With a matchup with #8 Texas in Austin looming on Sunday, Rice head coach Efe Ustundag took the opportunity on Friday to change the lineup and to give some of his other players a chance to take to the courts.
"The biggest part of today was that some guys who have not gotten the chance to play much singles so far this semester got a chance to be on the court today and we tried some different combinations in doubles that didn't put us in any kind of hole.
Oscar Janglin and David Warren each picked up a pair of wins in singles while Warren's brother Daniel made his collegiate dual debut and teamed with Jamie Malik to pick up a win in doubles.
The opener against Abilene Christian was held simultaneously with a Rice women's match against Texas State in the third annual Double Trouble Day. Ustundag said that while the matchups and time of the match were not conducive to generating crowds similar to those of the first two years, he appreciated the efforts to promote the day.
"The way the schedules worked out this year, we were not able to set up something similar to what we've done the last two years, but kudos to the marketing department for taking on the challenge and generating a nice turnout. Any time we run any kind of promotion and we get some people out to watch tennis, I consider it a success," Ustundag stated.
The return home will prove brief for the Owls, who will jump back into the suitcases for the next four matches.
They travel to Austin on Sunday to resume their long-standing series against the Texas Longhorns, who have vaulted into the national top ten this year.
"This is one of their strongest and deepest teams they have had in a number of years," Ustundag said. "They brought in two high-caliber freshmen and they had a great fall. They only have one senior in the lineup. But have risen to the occasion in these situations in the past. We have a lot of respect for them and I think the feeling is mutual. The things we have done the last two months have not gone unnoticed.
"Every year, we've gone out and competed against these really good teams, so there's not a feeling that this is our one shot to go out and beat a really good team. We compete against these teams on a regular basis and we compete against them well most of the time," Ustundag added.