Tennis Opens Season With Big Wins by Freshman Despoina Vogasari
HOUSTON - The University of Houston tennis program began their season with a flourish as freshman Despoina Vogasari captured wins over two Top-50 opponents at the Little Rock Invitational during the weekend. The Cougars competed in two different tournaments as part of the squad traveled to Arkansas and the rest went to Texas A&M-Corpus Christi and performed strongly under the rainy conditions along the Texas coast.
"This was an incredibly strong field (Little Rock Invitational) in which we were the only team that did not make the NCAA tournament last season," head coach Patrick Sullivan said. "With that mind, I'm very pleased that we were able to stand toe to toe with all of these squads
"Depi's (Despoina Vogasari) two top-50 wins stand out, but we had very solid play from top to bottom, with every individual and doubles team picking up at least one win. Still a lot of work to do before spring, but definitely a strong start to build on."
Vogasari defeated No. 46 Hermone Brhane from Oklahoma 7-6, 6-4 before claiming a 6-3, 6-3 win over No. 39 Julia Jones (Ole Miss). Vogasari, who comes to Houston via Athens, Greece, is regarded as the most heralded recruit in Houston history and opened her collegiate career with a fearless showing against a stacked field in the `A' flight.
Junior Elena Kordolaimi picked up a pair of victories in the `B' draw over Mia Lancaster of Oklahoma (6-3, 6-4) and Brittany Huxley from Arkansas (6-0, 3-6, 6-1). Senior Celia Fraser rebounded after her first match to also pick up two wins against Morgan Chumney (Oklahoma) 6-3, 6-4 and Flavia Araujo as she won 6-0, 3-6 and 6-0, 3-6, 6-1
Sophomore Maria Cardenas defeated Flavia Araujo of Arkansas (6-0, 5-7, 6-1).
Battling the elements on the coast, the Cougars fared well at the Islander Open led by junior Charlotte Phillips' and sophomore Rocio Martin Fernandez 3-0 showings. Between the two, the Cougars dropped only two sets as the duo coasted to a perfect singles record to start the year.
Martin Fernandez claimed wins over Alicia Porte of Lamar (6-2, 6-2), Taryn Strahl from Incarnate Word (6-2, 6-3) and Carolina Maso of Lamar (6-7, 6-1, 10-8).
Phillips won 6-4, 6-2 win over Brooke Hughes (St. Edwards) and followed suit with a 6-4, 6-3 contest over Sarah Svvdedra (Incarnate Word) before outlasting Stefania Nicolae 6-3, 2-6, 10-6 (Texas A&M-Corpus Christi).
Rupert posted a 6-2, 7-5 win over Sasha Khadzhyan (ST. Edwards) and teamed with Martin Fernandez to post a pair of doubles victories. Senior Dionne Sanders partnered with Phillips to earn a pair of doubles wins as well.
MARCO & CO. CATERING ISLANDERS TENNIS OPEN
Charlotte Phillips vs. Brooke Hughes S. Edwards) 6-4, 6-2