Texas men’s tennis sweeps Rice 7-0

Evan Vieth, Men’s tennis reporter

No. 14 Texas men’s tennis moved to 5-3 on the year with a dominant 7-0 win over Rice on Friday. The victory marked the Longhorn’s 17th straight win over the Owls and gave Texas their fourth home win of the year.

Texas found few problems in the doubles portion of the competition, netting the first point of the match with a quick 2-0 victory. The stars of the event were duo Micah Braswell and Chih Chi Huang, who handled Rice’s Campbell Salmon and Eduardo Morais in a clean sweep of six games to zero. The match was a redemption round for Braswell and Huang, who previously were 2-5 on the year and lost in Waco on Monday. Texas has now won every single game in which they took the doubles point from their opponent.

No. 15 duo Richard Ciamarra and Cleeve Harper rounded out the victory with a 6-3 win against Rice’s Sumit Sarkar and Haoyuan Huang. Though they were not able to conclude their set, first-time duo Evin McDonald and Siem Woldeab led their opponents 4-3 and were on their way to a fifth game before the match was called. 

In the singles event, the Longhorns started out strong, winning five of their first six sets, including three where Rice won three or fewer games. Woldeab quickly earned a 6-1 victory in both of his sets, leading to an emphatic 2-0 victory over Rice’s Adam Oscislawski and Texas’ second point of the series.

One of the brightest spots of the team on the day was Junior Chih Chi Huang. Huang, who rarely competes in singles for the Longhorns, filled in nicely for the injured Nevin Arimilli. Huang not only swept the Owls with Braswell in duos, but he rallied back from a 3-0 deficit in the first set to eventually take his match 2-0, winning two 6-4 sets. He improved to 4-3 on singles on the year and made a case to be set into the everyday starting six.

Harper continued his success from doubles, netting the Longhorns their third point after defeating Rice’s Trinity Grear. Harper only dropped five games between his two sets and set Texas up for a flawless victory against the Owls. 

Braswell and Sarkar fought back and forth throughout both sets, but Braswell and the Longhorns ended the day victorious. Braswell’s 2-0 win hoisted Texas to four points, crowning them the victors of the night. Braswell ended the day with electric wins in both doubles and singles.

Though the Longhorns took the victory in four matches, the final three singles games continued on. 

In possibly the most exciting game of the night, No. 75 Ciamarra and Rice’s Emir Sendogan battled for three sets. The second set saw Ciamarra coming back from a 5-1 deficit to take it to a 6-6 set. Sendogan brought the momentum back, however, and took the second set narrowly in a 7-6 victory. The two played a first-to-10-point game 3, where Sendogan battled hard throughout the competition. Ciamarra, however, was too much for the freshman, as the veteran brought the game to a 9-7 game point opportunity. With every spectator’s eyes glued to the court, Ciamarra emotionally rocketed each and every ball back at Sendogan, leading to a crucial shot to give Ciamarra a 2-1 win.

Eliot Spizzirri was the last man standing, and in a back and forth game to three sets, the sophomore finished off Rice’s Huang to cap off a momentous 7-0 victory over the Owls.

The Longhorns will play the UCF Knights at home on Sunday, their last match before the ITA National Team Indoor Championships in Seattle.