The TCU men’s tennis fell on the road to No. 33 Rice 4-3, at the Jake Hess Tennis Center.
The Horned Frogs’ jumped on the Owls early, taking a 1-0 advantage after claiming the doubles point. After splitting the first two matches at the second and third courts, TCU’s top doubles duo of seniors Emanuel Brighiu and Christopher Price needed a tiebreaker set to take down the Owls’ team of Harry Fowler and Oscar Padlewski, 9-8 (2).
“I think we are playing good in doubles right now and I was very pleased with how aggressive we were at No. 3 doubles,” said TCU head coach David Roditi. “Chris Price and Emanuel Brighiu played really well for us today. I thought we competed hard and we almost beat a higher ranked team. It’s just frustrating because we have lost close matches like this too many times this season. We will have to find a way to win these 4-3 matches in conference play. We have had a lot of learning experiences this season and I think we are ready to apply what we have learned against our conference schedule.”
Rice didn’t stay down long, starting the singles portion of the day with a win from the No. 6 court. Price, playing in his hometown, got the Frogs’ back on top, cruising to a 6-1, 6-4 straight-set victory over Podlewski from the No. 3 position. The Owls would rally again, taking three-consecutive wins to secure the team win. After taking the opening set in the deciding match, TCU sophomore Soren Goritzka had an opportunity to push the team score to a 3-3 tie, but stumbled in a third-set tiebreaker to fall to the Owls’ Sam Garforth-Bles, 4-6, 6-3, 7-6 (5).
With the match in hand for Rice, TCU’s Brighiu, ranked No. 74 in the latest ITA national singles rankings, scratched out a hard-fought win from the top court over No. 84 Fowler, 7-6 (8, 5-7, 6-4.
TCU will open the Mountain West Conference schedule at home next week, hosting San Diego State at 2 p.m., Monday at the Bayard H. Friedman Tennis Center. Admission is free and fans can enjoy free pizza, courtesy of Mama’s Pizza, while supplies last. Visitors will also have the chance to win prizes between doubles and singles action and TCU’s players and coaches will be available to sign autographs after the conclusion of the match.
No. 33 Rice (13-4) def No. 72 TCU (5-11), 4-3
Jake Hess Tennis Center | Houston, Texas
1. #74 Emanuel Brighiu (TCU) def. #87 Harry Fowler (RICE) 7-6 (8), 5-7, 6-4
2. Peter Frank (RICE) def. Zach Nichols (TCU) 6-4, 7-5
3. Christopher Price (TCU) def. Oscar Podlewski (RICE) 6-1, 6-4
4. Sam Garforth-Bles (RICE) def. Soren Goritzka (TCU) 4-6, 6-3, 7-6 (5)
5. Christian Saravia (RICE) def. Daniel Sanchez (TCU) 7-6 (7), 7-5
6. Michael Nuesslein (RICE) def. Paul Chappell (TCU) 6-4, 6-2
Order of Finish: 6, 3, 2, 5, 4*, 1
1. #44 Brighiu/Price (TCU) def. Fowler/Podlewski (RICE) 9-8 (2)
2. Saravia/Garforth-Bles (RICE) def. Nichols/Sanchez (TCU) 9-8 (3)
3. Chappell/Nash (TCU) def. Nuesslein/Chang (RICE) 8-6
Order of Finish: 3, 2, 1*