Rice sweeps C-USA Tennis Championships Sunday

By Chuck Pool

The Rice men’s and women’s tennis teams used different paths to the same ultimate result April 23 as each captured the 2017 Conference USA Championship.  The men defeated Old Dominion 4-3 in Murfreesboro, Tenn., while the women downed Florida International 4-1 in Denton, Texas.

The Rice women led from the start and fought off a late FIU charge to win their fifth consecutive C-USA title, becoming the second school in C-USA history to win five consecutive postseason championships in any sport. The University of Houston men’s golf team won five straight titles from 1997 to 2001. The five consecutive conference tennis titles also match the Rice men’s team for the most by a Rice tennis team. The Rice men won five consecutive Southwest Conference titles from 1969 to 1972.

The Rice men rallied from a 3-0 deficit to capture their first consecutive conference title since those wins from ’69 to ’72.  Sophomore Jake Hansen shook off a break when he was serving for the match leading 5-4 to break back and then serve out to win.  This is the Owls’ third Conference USA title in their ninth appearance in the event, which tied Tulsa for the most in conference history. The men’s team improved to 23-7 on the year, matching last year’s mark as the second-most wins in school history.

Both teams earned automatic bids to the NCAA team championship. This will be the women’s sixth consecutive trip; it will be the men’s second straight appearance. The field for the NCAA Championship will be announced May 2, with competition taking place from May 12 to 14.


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