Despite uncooperative weather and being short one player before the first ball had even been served, the women’s tennis team made a statement this weekend in its first appearance at the Rice Tennis Classic in Houston.

By the end of the tournament, the Bulldogs won 23 matches, equaling the host Owls’ win total. The tournament featured three flights of singles and two flights of doubles. Christene Alford ’07 placed sixth in the A singles bracket, while Stephanie White ’05 placed sixth in the B singles bracket. An all-Yale final in the C singles championship match ended with Reshmi Srinath ’05 defeating Rashmee Patil ’07 6-2, 6-3. Sisters Karlyn Martin ’04 and Ashley Martin ’04 reached the final of the A doubles championship, but were defeated 8-3 in a first-to-eight format.

First-round doubles matches were scheduled to begin 8:30 a.m. on Friday, but tournament organizers delayed the matches at Jake Hess Tennis Stadium until 1:00 p.m. because of rain, with matches lasting past 9:00 p.m. Yale’s singles teams started out strongly, forging a 6-1 record in the first day of match play, with Alford turning in a dominating 6-2, 6-0 rout.

On the second day of the tournament, the duo of Ashley Martin ’04 and Karlyn Martin ’04 advanced to the finals of the A doubles flight, falling to Southern Methodist University’s Medeja Egic and Tatyana Bula in the final 6-1, 6-3. Stephanie White was defeated in a three-setter in the B singles quarterfinals 3-6, 6-1, 7-6(3).

Yesterday, Rice’s Lauren Archer won the A singles flight. Archer, the 2003 Western Athletic Conference Freshman of the Year, captured the championship in a 7-6(2), 6-3 victory over teammate Tracie Chong. White finished sixth in the B singles flight, while Ashley Martin placed eighth.

The Elis will return to the East Coast for a match against Providence and for the Brown Invitational.