April 21, 2006
GARLAND, Texas -
For the first time in five years, the Thundering Herd tennis team won't be playing in the finals of a conference tournament as the Rice Owls snapped the streak with a 4-3 upset win Friday in the quarterfinals of the Conference USA Tournament.
Marshall, the No. 2 seed, drops to 18-7 with the loss and No. 7 seed Rice improves to 11-12 as the Owls advance to play No. 3 seed Houston in the semifinals.
Before today, Marshall played in six-straight Mid-American Conference finals, winning the last four, but the run came to end in the Herd's first season in Conference USA.
The Herd stepped out early, taking the doubles point at the No. 1 and No. 3 slots. As the highest ranked tandem in the tournament, Marshall's Lynzee Kever and Kellie Schmitt quickly took control at the No. 1 position. The duo is currently ranked No. 31 in the latest ITA poll and holds a 19-4 record this season. Kever and Schmitt defeated Rice's Blair DiSesa and Medeja Egic. Freshman Jessica Keener and sophomore Jeanne Schwartz clinched the go-ahead point with an 8-0 sweep over Owl sophomores Christine Dao and Tiffany Lee.
Despite needing only three wins to clinch the match in singles, the Herd came up short as it could only muster wins from Schmitt and Keener.
After No. 69 ranked DiSesa downed Kever 6-2, 6-2, Schmitt brought the Herd back in the lead with a 6-0, 6-4 win at No. 2 over Rice's Dao. In back and forth fashion, Marshall's Keener picked up a win (6-4, 6-0) at the No. 6 position over Emily Braid, while senior Egic defeated the Herd's Shannon Brown (6-2, 6-4) at No. 4. to bring the match to 3-2.
With the match knotted at 3-3 matches a piece, it came down to No. 5 singles. After taking the first set 6-4, Rice's Allana Rodgers fell behind 4-3, but would fight back to take the set 6-4 to clinch the match for the Owls. Lee would down Schwartz 6-4, 6-1 to tie the match at three all.
No. 55 ranked ends the season 18-7, but will await NCAA selections for the team tournament and individual tournament, which Kever and Schmitt should gain a bid being the only ranked team in C-USA.
(7) Rice 4, def. (2) Marshall 3
No. 1 Blair DiSesa, RICE, def. Lynzee Kever, MAR, 6-2, 6-2
No. 2 Kellie Schmitt, MAR, def. Christine Dao, RICE, 6-0, 6-4
No. 3 Tiffany Lee, RICE, def. Jeanna Schwartz, MAR, 6-4, 6-1
No. 4 Medeja Egic, RICE, def. Shannon Brown, MAR, 6-2, 6-4
No. 5 Alanna Rodgers, RICE, def. Karolina Soor, MAR, 6-4, 6-4
No. 6 Jessica Keener, MAR, def. Emily Braid, RICE, 6-4, 6-0
No. 1 Kever/ Schmitt, MAR, def. DiSesa/ Egic, RICE, 8-1
No. 2 Patenaude/ Rodgers, RICE, vs. Brown/ Soor, MAR, dnf (4-5)
No. 3 Schwartz/ Keener, MAR, def. Lee/ Dao, RICE, 8-0