Women’s netters fall to No. 45 Rice


The Lady Eagles tennis team claimed a victory in the opening round of the 2016 Conference USA Tennis Championship with a 4-1 win over University of Texas at El Paso the morning of April 21. However, the team fell in the next round to eventual conference champion Rice at the Adams Tennis Complex in Murfeesboro, Tennessee.

Southern Miss opened the matchup with a 1-0 lead after capturing the doubles point. Carolin Drescher and Alex Kitchen extended their winning streak to 11 with a 6-2 win against Vivienne Kulicke and Duda Santos. Tjasa Jerse and Elena Roca battled Raven Bennett and Dephne Visscher to a 7-6 win.

Kitchen added another point for the Lady Eagles with a 6-1, 6-2 win. UTEP got its first point of the match when Santos downed Rikeetha Pereira with a 6-2, 6-3 to get the score to 2-1.

Southern Miss closed with Roca claiming a 6-3, 6-3 win against Bennett and Drescher clinching a three-set win against Kulicke 4-6, 6-3, 6-3.

With Southern Miss’ over UTEP, the team advanced to face No. 2 seed and No. 45 nationally-ranked Rice in the next round.

The Owls took the early lead, winning a pair of doubles matches. Drescher and Kitchen had their 11-match winning streak snapped with a 6-2 loss to Emily Smith and Katherine Ip. Jerse and Roca lost a 6-3 decision to Solomiya Zinko and Savannah Durkin. Pereira and Claudia Castella were leading 4-3 against Lindsey Hodge and Alison Ho when their match was called.

On the singles side, Rice won the first three taking the match win. Castella lost to Ho by the score of 6-1, 6-1. Kitchen lost a 6-2, 6-1 decision to Ip, while Jerse fell to Durkin 6-0, 6-2.

The Lady Eagles finished with a 17-4-1 record on the season. It is their best finish to a season since 2007.