Houston Looks to Stay Perfect vs. Southern Miss

Despoina Vogasari is 3-0 in overall action to begin the season

Jan. 30, 2014

Houston (2-0) vs. Southern Miss (1-1)
Houston, Texas | John E. Hoff Tennis Courts 
Friday, January 31, 2014 | 1:00 p.m. CT
Match Coverage: Live Stats |Twitter

HOUSTON---It may be early, but the Cougars are still perfect on the season, and they look to stay that way when they take on Southern Miss, Friday at 1:00 p.m. CT on the John E. Hoff Tennis Courts.

Live Coverage

There will be live stats available for Houston's dual match vs. Southern Miss. To access live stats for the match visit www.UHCougars.com, click the women’s tennis schedule page then click the "Live Stats" link.

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Fans can keep up with the latest in Cougar athletics by following us on Facebook (Facebook.com/HoustonAthletics), Twitter (@UHCougarSports), Instagram (houstoncougars) and YouTube.com (Youtube.com/UHAthletics). In addition, the women's tennis team has established its own official Facebook (Facebook.com/HoustonCougarTennis) and Twitter pages (@UHCougarTennis).

About the Venue

The John E. Hoff Tennis Courts are located on the campus of the University of Houston and sit on the corner of Elgin and Scott Street. The courts are located between Cougar Field and the Athletics/Alumni Center.

A Look at the Series...

Houston vs. Southern Miss

Overall Record: 8-3

Home Record: 1-1

Away Record: 3-1

Neutral Site Record: 4-1

Longest Win Streak: 4 matches

Longest Losing Streak: 2 matches 

Current Streak: Won 3

Record in Last 10 Meetings: 7-3

First Meeting: April 1. 1995 in New Orleans, La. (W, 7-2)

Last Meeting: Feb. 2, 2013 at Southern Miss (W, 7-0)

The Series Match-by-Match

04/01/95 vs. Southern Miss, W 7-2

04/17/98 vs. Southern Miss, W 5-2

04/16/00 vs. Southern Miss, W 5-0

02/01/06 at Southern Miss, W 6-1

04/04/07 vs. Southern Miss, L 3-4

02/05/08 Southern Miss, L 2-4

02/15/09 at Southern Miss, W 6-1

03/05/10 at Southern Miss, L 0-7

04/03/11 Southern Miss, W 5-2

04/19/12 vs. Southern Miss, W 4-0

02/02/13 at Southern Miss, W 7-0

Series Notes: This will be the 12th all-time meeting between the two former Conference USA rivals and will be the ninth consecutive year the two schools have hooked up…Houston is 8-3 all-time vs. Southern Miss and 1-1 at home…the Cougars have won each of the last three matchups vs. the Golden Eagles, including the last time Houston hosted Southern Miss on April 3, 2011 (W, 5-2)…the Cougars have blanked Southern Miss in each of the last two meetings for a combined score of 11-0…The Cougars have shutout the Golden Eagles three times overall and have been shutout once…UH’s largest margin of victory was a 7-0 win last time the two squads met on Feb. 2, 2013…Houston’s largest margin of defeat was a 7-0 loss on March. 5, 2010…out of 11 all-time meetings, only one of them has been decided by one point…when the two teams met last year, every Cougar won their singles matchup with none of them even dropping a set.

Eying the Eagles

Southern Miss enters this one 1-1 on the season after earning a 7-0 victory over Jackson State last time out, snapping what as a 24-match losing skid dating back to April 15, 2012. It truly is a new era of Golden Eagle tennis, as the roster consists of six freshman and one senior under first year head coach Dominic Modise. Alexus Coats is the lone senior on the roster. She went 5-13 in singles play a year ago.

Last time out for the Cougars

It all came down to the court six singles matchup last 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.

Let’s Do it Again!

A win over Southern Miss on Friday would give Houston its second straight 3-0 start to a season under Sullivan.

Can’t Run With Rupert

Freshman Tina Rupert has gotten off to a dominating 2-0 start this spring in singles action, as she has still yet to drop a set this season. In fact, she’s lost just two games thus far.

Quick Learners

The three newcomers in sophomore Maria Andrea Cardenas, freshman Despoina Vogasari, and freshman Tina Rupert are a combined 6-0 in singles action this season, dropping just one set between the three of them. Vogasari is 3-0 in overall action this season, as she paired up with junior Elena Kordolaimi to claim the Cougars’ first doubles victory of the season last time out vs. New Mexico.

A Flair For the Dramatics

Sophomore Rocio Martin Fernandez clinched Houston’s 4-3 dual match victory over New Mexico last Sunday, after she managed to rally to win her flight, 7-5, 4-6, 10-8 from the No. 6 position. Martin 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.

They All Count the Same

Houston is a combined 3-0 from the No. 5 and No. 6 positions so far in singles play this year, compared to a 3-1 combined record from the No. 1 and No. 2 positions.

Oh What a Rally

Senior Celia Fraser figures to be one of the senior leaders on this year’s squad, and showed why in the season opener vs. UTSA. After falling behind 7-3 in her tiebreak set, she rallied to take the set 10-8. She won the match 6-4, 2-6, 10-8.

Recycled Notes

Breaking Down the 2014 Cougars

Second year head coach Patrick Sullivan and the Cougars return six letterwinners from last season’s squad the finished 13-11 overall and eighth in the final year of Conference USA with a 1-1 record.

Senior Celia Fraser returns as one of the captains of the group, while junior Elena Korolaimi looks to improve on sophomore campaign that saw her earn All-Conference USA second team honors in her first season at Houston, after posting a 13-10 record at the No. 1 position.

The three newcomers in freshmen Despoina Vogasari, Tina Rupert, and sophomore Maria Andrea Cardenas represent what could become Houston’s strongest signing class ever. The class was ranked tops among mid-majors and sixth best nationally.

Postseason Aspirations

Houston enters the season looking to qualify for the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 1998 and for the third time in school history.

Fresh Talent

Newcomers Maria Andrea Cardenas, Despoina Vogasari, and Tina Rupert make up what was ranked as the sixth best recruiting class in the nation and the tops among mid-majors a year ago.

Foreign Phenoms

Not one player on the roster is from the United States. The roster sports four players from England, two from Greece, and one from Spain, Slovenia, and Venezuela.

A New Beginning

After spending 17 seasons as a part of Conference USA, the Cougars make the switch to the newly formed American Athletic Conference. The new league marks the program’s third conference membership in 35 years of existence.

About Patrick Sullivan

Sullivan enters his second season at Houston with an overall coaching record of 58-21 in three seasons overall as a head coach…he currently owns a record of 15-11 in his second year at Houston…Sullivan is 1-0 vs. Southern Miss while at Houston.

Home Sweet Home

The Cougars will play school-record 16 home matches in 2014, including seven consecutive to begin the year.

Hit Me With Your Best Shot

The 2014 schedule will undoubtedly be one of the more rigorous slates in program history, as the Cougars will play eight nationally ranked opponents in No. 60 North Texas (Feb. 8), at No. 45 Washington (Feb. 23), at No. 17 Texas (Feb. 28), No. 28 Tulsa (March 1), at No. 58 Utah (March 12), at No. 52 SMU (March 22), at No. 68 Harvard (March 30), and at No. 40 William and Mary (April 11). The Cougars will also go up against four schools that qualified for the NCAA Tournament a year ago in Texas, Tulsa, North Texas, and William and Mary.

 Hear it From Them

Be sure to visit www.UHCougars.com and click on the women's tennis page to watch the 2014 women's tennis season preview video featuring head coach Patrick Sullivan, senior Celia Fraser, and junior Charlotte Phillips.

Up Next for the Cougars

The Cougars will continue their season-long seven-match homestand vs. Texas A&M-Corpus Christi, Sunday at 11:00 a.m. CT at the John E. Hoff Tennis Courts.




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