April 19, 2014
TAMPA, Fla.--- The Cougars earned their school-record fifth straight shutout victory and sixth consecutive win overall, as they took down fifth-seeded Rutgers, 4-0, in the American Athletic Conference Tournament semifinals, Saturday afternoon out at the USF Varsity Tennis Courts.
For Houston (21-4), the win puts it just two wins shy of matching the school record for wins in a season, as the Cougars went 23-3 during the 1989-90 campaign. The Cougars also improved to a perfect 5-0 against conference foes this season, while most importantly securing their spot in Sunday’s inaugural American Athletic Conference Championship match.
Top seeded Houston will take on three-seeded USF in Sunday’s championship affair, after the Bulls recorded a 4-2 upset victory over second-seeded Memphis on Friday.
“This was one of our most focused performances of the year,” said head coach Patrick Sullivan. “We played with a great sense of purpose today and the results showed it.”
“Tomorrow is a big opportunity for us and we’re looking forward to a battle against a very worthy opponent in USF.”
As it was in the quarterfinal round against Cincinnati, the result was never in doubt in this one, as Despoina Vogasari and Elena Kordolaimi set the tone early, claiming a convincing 8-1 doubles win over Vanessa Petrini and Lindsey Kayati on court one.
Moments later, Maria Cardenas and Tina Rupert teamed up to clinch their 10th doubles win of the season, as the tandem defeated Lindsay Balsamo and Mariam Zein, 8-3, on court two to secure the doubles point for Houston.
Already up 1-0, the Cougars’ top line took care of business, as Vogasari (25-6, 21-3 Dual) came through first from the No. 1 position, earning a 6-0, 6-1 straight set victory over Pertrini to put UH on top 2-0.
Vogasari’s win also put her in a tie with Stina Almgren (21-9 in 1986) for the program’s all-time freshman dual match victories record, while it also moved her up to fifth on UH's overall all-time single-season dual match wins list.
Then Kordolaimi (19-5, 14-4 Dual) kept the train rolling for the Cougars, as she secured a dominating 6-0, 6-1 victory from the No. 2 spot, notching her ninth consecutive victory and sporting Houston a commanding 3-0 lead.
Rupert (23-6, 18-3 Dual) quickly followed suit, easily defeating Lindsey Kayati, 6-0, 6-1 to clinch the match for the Cougars, as she notched her team-leading 10th straight win. The freshman has now clinched seven of the last 16 victories for UH.
Due to tournament rules, play was stopped after Houston clinched the match.
The Cougars will now try and make history tomorrow, as they aim to become the first-ever American Athletic Conference Champion, when they clash with host USF, Sunday at 9:00 a.m. CT out at the USF Varsity Tennis Courts.
Match Notes: Houston earns first-ever win over Rutgers, improves to 1-1 vs. the Scarlet Knights all time….the Cougars have scored 28 unanswered points against opponents going back to the end of UH’s April 6 match against then-ranked No. 31 DePaul...if the season were to end today Despoina Vogasari (.875) would be tied for first on the school's all-time single-season dual match victories list, while Tina Rupert (.857) would be in fourth.
No. 1 Houston 4, No. 5 Rutgers 0
- #95 Despoina Vogasari (HOU) def. Vanessa Petrini (RUTGERS) 6-0, 6-1
- Elena Kordolaimi (HOU) def. Gina Li (RUTGERS) 6-0, 6-1
- Tina Rupert (HOU) def. Lindsey Kayati (RUTGERS) 6-0, 6-1
- Maria Cardenas (HOU) vs. Stefania Balasa (RUTGERS) unfinished
- Rocio Martin (HOU) vs. Lindsay Balsamo (RUTGERS) unfinished
- Charlotte Phillips (HOU) vs. Mariam Zein (RUTGERS) unfinished
Order of Finish: 1,2,3*
- Despoina Vogasari/Elena Kordolaimi (HOU) def. Vanessa Petrini/Lindsey Kayati (RUTGERS) 8-1
- Maria Cardenas/Tina Rupert (HOU) def. Lindsay Balsamo/Mariam Zein (RUTGERS) 8-3
- Rocio Martin/Charlotte Phillips (HOU) vs. Gina Li/Farris Cunningham (RUTGERS) unfinished
Order of Finish: 1,2