Tulsa & Rice Advance to NCAA Round of 16 Championships
May 14, 2012
IRVING, Texas - Tulsa men and Rice women advanced to the NCAA Championships in Athens, Ga., after winning their respective regionals.
Tulsa defeated No. 35 Minnesota (4-2) and No. 10 Oklahoma (4-1) on May 11-12 in Norman, Okla., to advance to the NCAA Round of 16 for the second-straight season. TU won the doubles point against the Golden Gophers and received singles victories from juniors Clifford Marsland, Grant Ive and sophomore Japie De Klerk. Tulsa also won the doubles point against the Sooners and picked up singles wins from senior Ashley Watling, junior Tristan Jackson and Marsland. Tulsa's triumph over the Sooners was the first over a top-10 opponent in school history.
The Golden Hurricane has competed in the NCAA Tournament each of the last seven years, and TU reached the Round of 16 for the first time in program history last season by defeating Oklahoma and Texas on back-to-back days in Norman. The Golden Hurricane will be making its 14th appearance in the NCAA Championship. Tulsa is on a 10-match win streak, and the team has won 14 of its last 15 matches.
Rice ended the season for No. 18 Illinois (4-3) and No. 16 Ole Miss (4-2) on May 11-12 at the Palmer/Salloum Tennis Center in Oxford, Miss., to advance to the NCAA Round of 16 for the first time in program history.
Rice staged a dramatic rally to upset Illinois. Sophomore Kimberly Anicete's 8-6 tiebreak win in her second set on Court 5 advanced the Owls to the Regional final against Ole Miss. The win was Rice's first in NCAA team competition. The Owls had lost their previous first-round matches in 19996, 1997, 1998 and 2006 and in their last two appearances, they had been shut out. A day later, Rice summoned a performance to remember, routing the Rebels on their home courts. The Owls produced a pair of crucial third sets come backs to earn their first berth in the NCAA Women's Tennis Sweet 16.
Tulsa women won its opening round match against No. 45 Stephen F. Austin, 4-0, at the Hurd Tennis Center in Waco, Texas. That victory marked the third-straight season and the fourth time in the last five years that No. 25 Tulsa has advanced to the second round. However, the Golden Hurricane saw the season come to a close with 4-0 loss to host and No. 13 Baylor. Tulsa ended the year with a 23-4 mark and an appearance in the second round for the third-straight season. The three-time defending Conference USA Champions also won 20 matches for the sixth-straight year.
On the men's side, Memphis (19-6) dropped a 4-2 match to host and No. 25 Baylor in the Tigers first NCAA appearance. The Tigers struck first by winning the doubles point, but eventually succumbed to the Bears. David O'Hare and Joe Salisbury remained on serve in the No. 1 doubles match against Diego Galeano and Mate Zsiga until the Tigers broke to take a 5-3 advantage. The Bears earned a break to put the match on serve. Leading 7-6, but with Baylor serving, Memphis earned the match-clinching break to win 8-6.
Tulsa (20-8) is set to face No. 7 Pepperdine (25-6) on Friday, May 18 at 6 p.m. ET, while the Owls (18-8) will challenge top-ranked UCLA at 9 a.m. on Thursday at the NCAA Championships at the Dan Magill Tennis Complex in Athens, Ga. TU and Pepperdine faced each other Feb. 24 in Tulsa, with the Waves picking up the narrow 4-3 victory.