Jan. 26, 2014
HOUSTON--- It all came down to the court six singles matchup Sunday afternoon, and it was sophomore Rocio Martin Fernandez who came away as the hero for the Cougars, as she managed to rally to win her flight, 7-5, 4-6, 10-8, to give Houston the deciding fourth and final point, in a 4-3 Cougar victory over New Mexico at the John E. Hoff Tennis Courts.
Martin Fernandez trailed 5-1 in the final tiebreak set before taking nine of the final 12 rallies, including the last two, to secure the comeback victory, marking her first singles win of the season, which in turn clinched the dual match for the Cougars.
The way the match ended was only too fitting, as the Cougars fell behind from the very beginning, dropping two of three doubles matchups, giving New Mexico (1-1) the early 1-0 advantage. The pair of sophomore Elena Kordolaimi and freshman Despoina Vogasari defeated New Mexico's Susan Baklini and Emily Olivier, 6-3 for the Cougars' lone doubles victory
Houston (2-0) soon saw itself in a deeper hole, as the Lobos brought home the win on court two to extend their lead to 2-0, but the Cougar comeback would soon begin.
Freshman Tina Rupert brought in Houston's first point of the day from the No. 5 position, cruising by New Mexico's Emily Olivier, 6-0, 6-1, cashing in on her second straight dominating performance to open the year.
With the Cougars trailing 2-1, freshman Despoina Vogasari delivered from the No. 1 spot, blowing by New Mexico's Michaela Bezdickova in straight sets (6-0, 6-3), to tie things up at 2-2.
Within minutes, sophomore Maria Andrea Cardenas earned the Cougars' third point in a row, taking down the Lobos' Lizette Blankers, 6-3, 6-2, giving Houston a 3-2 advantage.
But New Mexico refused to go down quietly, as it locked things back up at 4-4, after earning the point on court four.
However, in the end, it was Houston who was able to hold on for the narrow victory, clinching its first one-point victory since defeating Florida Gulf Coast, 4-3 back on Feb. 16, 2013.
The Cougars will try to run their record to 3-0 when they take on Southern Miss, Friday at 1:00 p.m. CT on the John E. Hoff Tennis Courts.
Match Notes: Houston improves to 8-4 all-time vs. New Mexico and 3-1 at home vs. the Lobos...Cougars snap what was a four-match losing streak to the Lobos going back to 1997...Houston earns its first outdoors win of the season...Cougars notch their first one-point victory since defeating Florida Gulf Coast, 4-3 on Feb. 16, 2013.
Houston 4, New Mexico 3
- Despoina Vogasari (UH) def. Michaela Bezdickova (NM), 6-0, 6-3
- Lizette Blankers (NM) def. Celia Fraser (UH), 6-2, 6-2
- Maria Andrea Cardenas (UH) def. Meredith Hopson (NM), 6-3, 6-2
- Natasha Smith (NM) def. Charlotte Phillips (UH), 7-6 (5), 6-0)
- Tina Rupert (UH) def. Emily Olivier (NM), 6-0, 6-1
- Rocio Martin Fernandez (UH) def. Susan Baklini (NM), 7-5, 4-6, 10-8
Order of Finish: 2, 5, 1, 4, 6*
- Bezdickova/ Blankers (NM) def. Cardenas/ Martin Fernandez (UH), 6-4
- Hopson/ Smith (NM) def. Phillips/ Rupert (UH), 6-4
- Kordolaimi/ Vogasari (UH) def. Baklini/ Olivier (NM), 6-3
Order of Finish: 3, 2, 1