Jan. 28, 2013
HOUSTON - First-year head coach Patrick Sullivan has wasted little time in getting the University of Houston women's tennis program headed in the right direction, as TennisRecruiting.net tabbed his first recruiting haul for 2013 as the No. 6 class in the nation on Monday.
"I may be a little biased about my hometown, but Houston is a great place and that makes recruiting easy," Sullivan said. "I think what separates us from most universities is that being situated in the heart of the fourth largest city in the country and on one of the most diverse campuses and regions in the world, student-athletes have limitless opportunities on the court, in the classroom and in the community. There aren't too many Tier One research institutions in thriving cities that offer top-notch academics, great weather, an hour's drive from the beach and a chance to play in a premier tennis conference. Our 2014 schedule will be one of the toughest in the country and it's exciting to have a team that will be up to the task. Our recent move back into the national rankings and the addition of these talented newcomers to our current strong and high-character core mean exciting things to come for Houston Tennis."
The 2013 signing class, consisting of international standouts Despoina Vogasari (Athens, Grecce) and Rocio Martin Fernandez (Madrid, Spain), is the top recruiting class in Conference USA history and the second-highest ranked class in mid-major history behind William and Mary in 2006. Houston's recruiting class received a first-place vote from a panelist for the nation's top class.
Vogasari, who signed a National Letter of Intent in November for the 2013-14 season, holds the highest ranking of any junior player in Greece and the Athens native is the highest ranked player to sign with the Houston women's tennis program in the last 20 years. Vogasari recently claimed her first professional tournament victory at the The Mytilini Open in Greece and has been a finalist in five other professional singles and doubles events over the last two years.
Martin Fernandez signed with Houston before the start of the spring semester, where she was ranked No. 44 in Spain's open division and No. 1204 in WTA's worldwide rankings. Originally from Galicia, Spain, Martin Fernandez claimed the U16 regional championship before moving to Madrid in high school, where she went on to win the U18 regional doubles championship and advance to the semifinals of a U18 Spanish national singles and doubles event.
"We were very high on our incoming class even before these rankings, but it is certainly a nice accolade to receive and the credit should go to assistant coach Jo Keene and our director of compliance Kevin Klotz, who do all of the important behind the scenes work and receive very little public praise for it," Sullivan said. "I hate to give away our secret weapon, but I also need to mention our academic advisor Helen Gore-Laird, who is a real wolf in sheep's clothing as the most dynamic on-campus recruiter in the country. When prospects come in on visits and see not only all that Houston has to offer, but more importantly the incredible support and family environment that (Vice President for Intercollegiate Athletics) Mack Rhoades has cultivated within our department, it really separates us from the pack.
"Unfortunately they don't give out rings for recruiting championships and we still have a lot of work ahead of us before we can start winning championships on the tennis court," Sullivan continued, "but we are excited to be on the right track, with the right people."
TennisRecruiting.net's Top 25 Recruiting Classes
1. North Carolina
5. Oklahoma State
7. Georgia Tech
11. Wake Forest
12. Boston College
14. Ohio State
15. Texas Tech
21. Texas A&M
23. Notre Dame