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.
The Cougars split once again from Sept. 27-29 with individuals traveling to Los Angeles for the Riviera/ITA All-American Championships and others competing locally in the Rice Invitational.
LITTLE ROCK INVITATIONAL
Yang Pang (Arkansas) vs. Despoina Vogasari 6-2, 2-6, 6-0
Despoina Vogasari vs. Hermone Brhane (Oklahoma) 7-6, 6-4
Despoina Vogasari vs. Julia Jones (Ole Miss) 6-3, 6-3
Elena Kordolaimi vs. Brittany Huxley (Arkansas) 6-4, 6-3
Elena Kordolaimi vs. Mia Lancaster (Oklahoma) 6-1, 7-6
Samantha Adams (Texas Tech) vs. Elena Kordolaimi 3-6, 6-4, 6-3
Sarah Toti (Texas Tech) vs. Celia Fraser 3-6, 6-4, 6-3
Celia Fraser vs. Morgan Chumney (Oklahoma) 6-3, 6-4
Celia Fraser vs. Flavia Araujo (Arkansas) 6-0, 3-6, 6-1
Lynn Kiro (Texas Tech) vs. Maria Cardenas 6-3, 4-6, 6-4
Morgan Chumney (Oklahoma) vs. Maria Cardenas 6-3, 6-4
Maria Cardenas vs. Flavia Araujo (Arkansas) 6-0, 5-7, 6-1
Wofford/Lancaster (Oklahoma) vs. Vogasari/Cardenas 6-3
Pang/Huxley (Arkansas) vs. Vogasari/Cardenas 8-4
Rohde-Moe/Milutinovic (Ole Miss) vs. Vogasari/Cardenas 8-2
Brhane/Chumney (Oklahoma) vs. Fraser/Kordolaimi 6-1
Fraser/Kordolaimi vs. Robbins/Jones (Ole Miss) 8-6
Surin/Araujo (Arkansas) vs. Fraser/Kordolaimi vs. 9-7
MARCO & CO. CATERING ISLANDERS TENNIS OPEN
Rocio Martin Fernandez vs. Alicia Porte (Lamar) 6-2, 6-2
Rocio Martin Fernandez vs. Taryn Strahl (Incarnate Word) 6-2, 6-3
Rocio Martin Fernandez vs. Carolina Maso (Lamar) 6-7, 6-1, 10-8
Tina Rupert vs. Sasha Khadzhyan (St. Edwards) 6-2, 7-5
Tina Rupert vs. Sandra Burges (AMCC) 4-6, 1-6
Charlotte Phillips vs. Brooke Hughes S. Edwards) 6-4, 6-2
Charlotte Phillips vs. Sarah Svdedra (Incarnate Word) 6-4, 6-3
Charlotte Phillips vs. Stefania Nicolae (AMCC) 6-3, 2-6, 10-6
Dionne Sanders vs Mariaxi Herrera (TAMU Kingsville) 4-6, 4-6
Dionne Sanders vs. K .Lapayeva (Lamar) 4-6, 4-6
Martin Fernandez/Tina Rupert vs. Haegele/Chaher (SEU) 8-2
Martin Fernandez/Tina Rupert vs. Katavia/Botha (UIW) 8-4
Martin Fernandez /Rupert vs. Nicolae/Martin (AMCC) 7-8
Charlotte Phillips/Dionne Sanders vs. Dimitrosvka/Garcia (TAMU Kingsville) 8-1
Charlotte Phillips/Dionne Sanders vs. Maso/Elving (Lamar) 9-8
Charlotte Phillips/Dionne Sanders vs. Burges/Horan (Texas A&M-Corpus Christi) 4-8