Jan. 18, 2013
HOUSTON - Court one was representative of Lamar's women's tennis team on Friday as it opened up the season with a 6-1 loss at 29th-ranked Rice.
The court featured two tight matches and a pair of comebacks, but unfortunately, the Lady Cardinals were on the losing side of both, falling to a ranked doubles team and a ranked singles player.
In doubles, the duo of Hélène Czudek and Carolina Salas started things off by storming back from a 6-3 deficit to tie things up, but the No. 56 pairing of Natalie Beazant and Dominique Harmath put a halt to the rally, holding on for an 8-6 decision.
The match proved key in securing the doubles point as Carolina Masó and Alicia Porte fell in 8-3 fashion to Katie Gater and Liat Zimmerman at the second spot, and the team of Dariya Dashutina and Natalia Mayagoitia picked up the 8-5 win at No. 3 vs. Kimberly Anicete and Stephanie Nguyen.
Salas returned to the main court a few moments later for singles play, and after falling 6-3 to the 50th-ranked Beazant, the senior looked to be in good shape in the second frame, running out to a 4-1 lead. However, the edge was short-lived as Beazant turned the momentum to win 6-4.
"Salas really had an opportunity to capitalize in the second set," head coach David Wong said. "She was up 4-1, but at 4-2, she was serving 40-30 to go to 5-2. That would've been a huge advantage. It's about maintaining your discipline when you get into that position. It's still a confidence boost to play that well against a ranked opponent."
That became the story for most of the Lady Cards as the team held a second-set lead in five of the six matches. Two of the six were ultimately decided on tie breaks with Masó losing to Gater 6-2, 3-6, 7-10 at No. 3 and Dashutina falling 7-5, 2-6, 5-10 to Zimmerman at No. 6.
Mayagoitia picked up the only Lady Card win, taking home a straight-set 6-3, 6-2 victory over Nguyen at the fifth spot. The win was notable as it marked the first for a Lady Card vs. Rice since the 2008 season.
"Natalia played very consistent, and I'm happy for her," Wong said. "She gets to start her senior year off with a win at Rice. Hopefully she'll take this and build up her wins for her final season."
In other singles action, Harmath beat Porte 6-1, 6-2 and Anicete defeated Czudek 6-2, 6-3.
The squad will continue play later this weekend with a doubleheader against No. 36 Arkansas on Sunday at the Galleria Tennis Club in Houston.