April 7, 2017
Lindsey Hodge and Wendy Zhang fought back from a pair of perilous deficits to win the doubles point and then cruised to wins in singles to spark the 37th ranked Rice women's tennis team to a 4-0 win over USF at the George R. Brown Tennis Center on Friday.
Hodge and Zhang, who are currently ranked 65th in the nation, fell behind early 3-0, then rallied to win five straight games. But the Bulls' duo of Juliana Cardoso and Olga Martinez staged a rally of their own, fighting off a pair of match points for a break and then held serve in their last two games to force a tiebreak to decide the match's first point.
Cardoso and Martinez sprinted out to a 5-1 lead in the tiebreaker, but Hodge and Zhang caught a second wind after the changeover, winning six straight points to take the match and give Rice a 1-0 lead.
Owls head coach Elizabeth Schmidt was pleased to see the demeanor of Hodge and Zhang stay consistent as the momentum continuously shifted during the match.
"Being down 3-0 and then 5-1 in the breaker, there was no panic. We just played and we trusted and we went for it." Schmidt said. "We've talked a lot about competing. Not everything is going to go your way and you have to be resilient and respond. When the other team steps up, you have to step up as well. I thought we did a real nice job of that."
Rice carried the momentum from the stirring rally in doubles over to singles, racing to take first sets on five of six courts. Zhang and Hodge quickly padded the lead to 3-0 and Katherine Ip followed just behind to clinch the Owls 13th win this year and run their home record to 9-0.
Friday's match was the first of a three-match homestand to close out the 2017 regular season for the Owls. They will close out the dual season with a pair of matches against Conference USA schools prior to traveling to Denton, Texas in two weeks to look for a fifth consecutive C-USA championship.
The Owls will host Marshall at 11 a.m. on Sunday and then celebrate the careers of seniors Ip and Alison Ho prior to their match with Louisiana Tech on April 15.
USF vs Rice
#37 Rice 4, USF 0
1. #119 Lindsey Hodge (RICE) def. Ana Roman (USF) 6-1, 6-0
2. Katherine Ip (RICE) def. Juliana Cardoso (USF) 6-1, 6-0
3. Wendy Zhang (RICE) def. Vera Bessonova (USF) 6-3, 6-1
4. Fernanda Astete (RICE) vs. Nicole Dzenga (USF) 6-2, 5-1, unfinished
5. Savannah Durkin (RICE) vs. Vanja Klaric (USF) 3-6, 4-2, unfinished
6. Alison Ho (RICE) vs. Jessica Chaves (USF) 6-4, 0-2, unfinished
1. #65 Lindsey Hodge/Wendy Zhang (RICE) def. Juliana Cardoso/Olga Martinez (USF) 7-6 (7-5)
2. Vera Bessonova/Vanja Klaric (USF) def. Alison Ho/Priya Niezgoda (RICE) 6-4
3. Savannah Durkin/Katherine Ip (RICE) def. Nicole Dzenga/Jessica Chaves (USF) 6-0
Rice 13-5; National ranking #37
Order of finish: Doubles (3,2); Singles (3,1,2)