May 15, 2010

Courtesy of Baylor

WACO, Texas - The 33rd-ranked Rice Owls upset 25th-ranked Washington Huskies, 4-3, in first round NCAA Tournament action at the Baylor Tennis Center on Saturday.

In a match that lasted almost four hours, the Owls produced a come-from-behind victory to down the Huskies. After Washington took the doubles point, Rice won at No. 6 singles to even the match at 1-1. Washington gained two points by winning at No. 5 and 1, respectively to go up 3-1. However, after losing their first sets on the remaining courts, the Owls pulled out wins at 4, 3, and 2 respectively to claim victory.

Oscar Podlewski started Rice's comeback with a 4-6, 6-0, 6-4 win over Martin Kildahl at No. 4 singles. Sam Garforth kept it going with a 4-6, 6-1, 7-6(4) triumph on court three over Derek Drabble. Michael Nuesslein clinched the match for the Owls with his 5-7, 7-6(3), 6-3 win over Kyle McMorrow.

The win raises the Owls' record to 15-10 while Washington ends its season at 17-6. Rice will take on Baylor in NCAA Tournament second round action on Sunday at 2 p.m.

"We didn't show up at two and three doubles, no offense to Washington. We beat a lot of good teams this year losing the doubles point. We jumped on the players a little bit after doubles and I think we competed hard in singles on every court. I mean we had to, they're a top 25 team. We were actually down in a lot of first sets, so we persevered. The weather helped up too, it got hot," said Rice head coach Ron Smarr.

"At the beginning of the year I wouldn't have seen this team losing in the first round. I think we are a very solid team. I know we hadn't really broken through versus a top 10 team, but I thought we were very solid. We let three matches get away where we won the first set. We win either of two tiebreakers and we win the match, but their guys fought hard. It was good clean tennis, a good battle and they got us 4-3," said Washington head coach Matt Anger.

#33 Rice 4, #25 Washington 3
Saturday, May 15 - Men's NCAA?First Round - 9 a.m.
Baylor Tennis Center • Waco, Texas