chasia webb | Posted: 31 Oct 2021 | Updated: 4 Feb 2022

Cougars have strong showing at Rice Invitational

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Madison Smith

HOUSTON, Texas — BYU women’s tennis participated in the Rice Invitational last weekend. The Cougars competed in both the singles and doubles portions of the Invitational. Freshman Madison Smith led BYU, going 5-1 in her matches over the weekend. Her only loss came in the first doubles match of the event.

BYU ended the weekend 3-3 in doubles and 7-4 in the singles matches against the Texas schools in the Invitational.

Thursday:

Senior Leah Heimuli and junior Helen Jiao represented BYU as the first doubles team, competing against Rice University’s Federica Trevisan and Diae El Jardi. The Cougars fought hard but ultimately fell 8-6. Junior Emilee Astle and Smith took on Rice’s second set of doubles Victoria Smirnova and Allison Zipoli. BYU fell once more 8-6, completing its doubles play for the day.

Each of the Cougars participated in the singles division after doubles play concluded. Jiao battled against Victoria Smirnova of Rice and sent the match to three sets, falling short of the victory 6-4, 6-7(3), 7-6(4). BYU won out the rest of its matches, Heimuli defeated her opponent Sarina Reinertsen of UTA after a well-fought match 6-4, 2-6, 6-3; with Astle beating Carla Pons of UTA 7-6(4), 6-3; and Smith coming out victorious against Maria Dzemeshkevich of Houston 7-5, 6-1.

Friday:

The Cougars came out on top of their doubles matches on day two. Heimuli and Jiao competed with Liz Chileno and Tara Gorinsek of UTA, defeating them 8-2 in their match. Astle and Smith beat Momoka Horiguchi and Nika Novikova of UTA 8-6.

BYU split its singles matches having two wins and two losses. Astle faced off against El Jardi, winning 7-6(4), 6-2. Smith brought in the second victory in the singles category, dominating Sophie Gerits of Houston 6-0, 6-1. Heimuli put up a fight against Zipoli before falling 6-3, 7-6(4). Jiao finished the day off with a loss to Dzemeshkevich 6-3, 6-1.

Saturday:

Astle and Smith brought in the final doubles victory of the invite, battling Elena Trencheva and Gabriela Giraldo of Houston, finishing on top 8-6. Heimuli and Jiao fell just short of a victory against Gianna Pielet and Jeanette Mireles of Texas A&M 8-6.

BYU split its singles matches once more on the final day of the competition. Smith defeated Katya Townsend of Texas A&M in a three-set match, 6-4, 4-6, 6-4. Jiao got her first singles victory of the invite after Blanca Cortijo of Houston withdrew during the first set. Astle received her first loss in the singles division after Kayal Gownder of Texas A&M took the win 6-4, 3-6, 3-6 and Heimuli finished a hard-fought match falling against Mireles 6-3, 6-7(4), 1-6.

The Cougars will compete next in the SDSU Invitational and the CSUN Invitational Nov. 12-13.