Houston Back in Action vs. No. 63 North Texas

    <i>Maria Cardenas</i>
    Maria Cardenas
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    Feb. 7, 2014

    Houston (3-0) vs. No. 63 North Texas (1-3)
    Houston, Texas | John E. Hoff Tennis Courts 
    Saturday, February 8, 2014 | 11:00 a.m. CT
    Match Coverage: Live Stats |Twitter

    HOUSTON---The Cougars aim to notch their best start since the 2007 campaign, as Houston tries for its fourth consecutive win to begin the year, when it hosts No. 63 North Texas, Saturday at 11:00 a.m. CT out at the John E. Hoff Tennis Courts.

    Live Coverage

    There will be live stats available for Houston's dual match vs. North Texas. 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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    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. North Texas

    Overall Record: 8-4

    Home Record: 8-0

    Away Record: 0-3

    Neutral Site Record: 0-1

    Longest Win Streak: 6 matches

    Longest Losing Streak: 3 matches 

    Current Streak: Lost 1

    Record in Last 10 Meetings: 6-4

    First Meeting: March 2, 1979 in Houston, Texas (W, 6-3)

    Last Meeting: April 5, 2008 at North Texas (L, 3-4)

    The Series Match-by-Match

    03/02/79 North Texas, W, 6-3

    04/14/79 North Texas, W, 5-3

    02/08/80 at North Texas, L, 3-5

    04/17/80 vs. North Texas, L, 4-5

    02/20/81 at North Texas, L, 0-9

    02/21/82 North Texas, W, 5-2

    02/13/90 North Texas, W, 9-0

    02/23/92 North Texas, W, 7-2

    02/18/94 North Texas, W, 8-1

    04/14/02 North Texas, W, 4-3

    02/09/07 North Texas, W, 7-0

    04/05/08 at North Texas, L, 3-4

    Series Notes: This will be the 13th all-time meeting between the two teams and will be the first time the programs have met since the 2008 season...Houston is 8-4 all-time vs. North Texas and a perfect 8-0 at home...the Cougars have won six of the last seven matchups vs. the Mean Green...The Cougars have shutout the Golden Eagles twice overall and have been shutout once...UH's largest margin of victory was a 9-0 win on Feb. 13, 1990...Houston's largest margin of defeat was a 9-0 loss on Feb. 20, 1981...out of 12 all-time meetings, only three have been decided by one point, with Houston just 1-2 in those matches.

    Not Know About North Texas? Now You Do!

    North Texas (1-3) enters this one ranked No. 63 in the country, but has struggled out of the gate here in 2014, as it dropped its first three matches, before picking up its first win of the year vs. Southern Illinois (4-0) last Saturday. The Mean Green boast a youthful roster, made up of four freshman, two sophomores, and two juniors, with all eight players on the roster being from foreign countries.

    What They're Saying

    "Houston is a much improved team under Coach Sullivan and should be nationally ranked by the end of the year. We are coming off a great effort against Southern Illinois and want to build on it this weekend."

    -North Texas Head Coach Sujay Lama          

    In the Rankings

    North Texas enters this one ranked No. 63 in the country, while Houston is unranked in the latest ITA polls.

    Houston vs. Ranked Opponents

    Houston will be going up against its first ranked opponent since playing No. 49 Arkansas on April. 14, 2013...UH has dropped four straight matches to ranked opponents, with its last ranked victory coming vs. No. 59 Stephen F. Austin in last season's opener on Jan. 15 (W, 5-1).

    Last time out for the Cougars

    The Cougars earned their third consecutive win to open the season, defeating Southern Miss in convincing fashion, 6-1, Friday afternoon out at the John E. Hoff Tennis Courts.

    Houston (3-0) never trailed in this one, as senior Celia Fraser and freshman Tina Rupert set the tone early, dominating the Southern Miss tandem of Kathrin Waidner and Lisa Noderer, 6-1, in the day's first doubles matchup on court three. Freshman Despoina Vogasari and junior Elena Kordolaimi quickly followed suit, winning their pairing on court two, 6-3, to secure the Cougars' first point of the match and UH's first doubles point on the year.

    Kordolaimi was excellent in her 2014 singles debut, easily getting past Southern Miss' Waidner in straight sets (6-2, 6-1) from the No. 5 spot to extend the Cougar advantage to 2-0.

    Vogasari continued to stay perfect from the No. 1 position, as she defeated the Golden Eagles' Mahitha Dadireddy, 6-2, 6-4, to put UH on the brink of victory, giving the Cougars a commanding 3-0 lead.

    Rupert then did what she's done all year so far in the early going, as she dominated Southern Miss' Karina Gurgenyan, 6-2, 6-1 from the No. 4 position, to stay perfect in singles play on the year, but most importantly clinch the dual match victory for the Cougars.

    With the score already at 4-0, Maria Andrea Cardenas and Rocio Martin Fernandez both took advantage of opportunities to pad their individual statistics, as Cardenas blew by her competition on court three, 6-2, 7-5, and Martin took care of business from the No. 6 spot for a second straight week, defeating her opponent 6-4, 6-2.

    The Golden Eagles took the final point on court two, putting an end to a streak in which Houston had scored 19 straight points off of Southern Miss going back to April 3, 2011.

    Oh What a Win Would Do

    A win over North Texas on Saturday would move the Cougars to 4-0 on the season. It would be the best start to a season, since Houston began the 2007 spring season 5-0...would also go down as the longest home win streak since winning five straight home matches during the 2012 spring campaign...it would also be the program's longest overall win streak since picking up five consecutive wins during that same 2012 spring season.

    Can't Run With Rupert

    Freshman Tina Rupert has gotten off to a dominating 3-0 start this spring in singles action, as she has still yet to drop a set this season. In fact, she's lost just five games thus far.

    Quick Leaners

    The three newcomers in sophomore Maria Andrea Cardenas, freshman Despoina Vogasari, and freshman Tina Rupert are a combined 9-0 in singles action this season, dropping just one set between the three of them. Vogasari is 5-0 in overall action this season, as she's paired up with junior Elena Kordolaimi to go 2-0 in doubles matches thus far.

    A Flair For the Dramatics

    Sophomore Rocio Martin Fernandez clinched Houston's 4-3 dual match victory over New Mexico on Jan. 26, after she managed to rally to win her flight, 7-5, 4-6, 10-8 from the No. 6 position. 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.

    They All Count the Same

    Houston is a combined 5-0 from the No. 5 and No. 6 positions so far in singles play this year, compared to a 4-2 combined record from the No. 1 and No. 2 positions.

    Cougars Haul in Second Consecutive Ranked Signing Class

    The University of Houston women's tennis 2014 early signing class has been ranked as the 24th best in the nation according to TennisRecruiting.net, as released by the website on Feb. 3.

    The class consisting Angela Lorenzo (Valladolid, Spain), Carolina Costamagna (Cordoba, Argentina), and Mina Markovic (Belgrade, Serbia) was named the second best in the American Athletic Conference, right behind Louisville's 16th ranked class. Houston is also one of four Texas schools to boast a top-25 recruiting class this period.

    "We are very, very high on this class and are glad the experts agree," said head coach Patrick Sullivan. "I believe their results on the court are going to be even better than this ranking and I think the group is every bit as strong as last year's top-10 class."

    "Our staff has logged a lot of airline miles to several different continents and just generally put in a lot of time and effort into making sure that we get the right girls for our program. We love the student-athletes we have on campus right now and the strong positive team culture they have committed to, so the job isn't quite as simple as the primary and obvious need to recruit very talented tennis players. Beyond that, we need girls that will continue to uphold our team core values and who will help us both to win championships and to continue to break academic records. That's the vision we recruited this 2014 class with and we think they are up to the task. We're very proud of this group and excited to get them to campus in August."

    Angela Lorenzo - Valladolid, Spain

    Lorenzo was ranked as high as No. 41 in the Spanish Women's Open rankings and is one of the top juniors in her country, having reached the junior national semifinals in the U-14 and U-16 divisions and most recently winning the U-18 National title. She has consistently been the top junior in her region of Castile and León, having won 14 regional championships there in her junior career.

    Carolina Costamagna - Cordoba, Argentina

    Costamagna is one of the top junior players in South America and has been ranked as high as No. 697 in the WTA professional rankings. She has been a finalist in International Tennis Federation (ITF) junior tournaments in five different countries in both singles and doubles, most recently at the Copa Canteril in Punta Del Este, Uruguay, in which she was a doubles finalist and cruised through the singles final 6-2, 6-0.

    Mina Markovic - Belgrade, Serbia

    Markovic is one of the top junior players in the world, as she was ranked as high as 128th in the ITF rankings, the highest junior ranking ever for a University of Houston signee. She won her first ITF junior tournament at the age of 15 in her hometown of Belgrade, Serbia. In addition, she has 63 international junior combined wins (singles & doubles) in 16 different countries and was most recently the champion of the ITF Grade 4 Montenegro Open this past May.

    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 59-21 in three seasons overall as a head coach...he currently owns a record of 16-11 in his second year 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. Kansas next Friday at 11:00 a.m. CT out at the John E. Hoff Tennis Courts.


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