#64 Houston (6-1) at #40 Washington (8-1)
||Sunday, February 23, 2014 | 2:00 p.m. CT
||Nordstrom Tennis Center Seattle, Wash.
||Live Stats | Twitter Coverage
|| All-time series is tied at 1-1
UH has never played at Washington
First meeting since 1993 (UW won 5-1)
||ITA Ranking: #64
Road Record: 1-0
Current Streak: Won 2
Last Five Matches: 4-1
Houston Preview | Season Stats
||ITA Ranking: #40
Home Record: 5-0
Current Streak: Won 5
Last Five Matches: 5-0
Washington Preview | Season Stats
|Up Next For Houston
||Feb. 28 at No. 18 Texas
March 1 vs. No. 23 Tulsa
March 5 vs. Temple
March 8 vs. Connecticut
March 8 vs. Tyler Junior College
Feb. 22, 2014
SEATTLE---The Cougars look to keep their hot start rolling, as they conclude their Pacific Northwest road trip at No. 40 Washington, Sunday at 2:00 p.m. CT
There will be live stats available for Houston's dual match at Washington. To access live stats for the match visit wwwgohuskies.com, click the women's tennis schedule page then click the "Live Stats" link.
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A Look at the Series...
Houston vs. Washington
Overall Record: 1-1
Home Record: 0-0
Away Record: 0-0
Neutral Site Record: 1-1
Longest Win Streak: 1 match
Longest Losing Streak: 1 match
Current Streak: Lost 1
Record in Last 10 Meetings: 1-1
First Meeting: March 30, 1991 in Irvine, Calif. (W, 9-0)
Last Meeting: March 26, 1993 in San Diego, Calif. (L, 1-5)
The Series Match-by-Match
03/30/91 vs. Washington, W, 9-0
03/26/93 vs. Washington, L, 1-5
Series Notes: This will be just the third all-time meeting between the two programs, and the first since the 1993 season...Houston is 1-1 all-time vs. Washington, as the Cougars defeated the Huskies 9-0 on March 30, 1991, but lost to UW, 5-1, on March 26, 1993...the Cougars have never played at Washington.
Breaking Down Washington
Washington State enters this one 8-1 on the season and 5-0 at home after defeating Portland, 6-1 on Saturday. The Huskies lone defeat on the year came to then ranked No. 8 California
In the Rankings
Houston enters this one at No. 64 in the nation, while Washington is placed at 40th.
Houston vs. Ranked Opponents
Houston will be going up against its fourth ranked opponent of the season, as its gone 2-1 vs. ranked teams so far this season...UH has dropped five of their last seven ranked matchups overall.
Last time out for the Cougars
The Cougars kept their stellar season going last Friday afternoon, as they rallied from a 2-1 overall deficit to defeat No. 59 Washington State, 5-2, to notch their first road victory of the season out at the Slimmelink Tennis Courts.
For Houston (6-1), the win marks the highest ranked opponent its defeated since downing No. 59 Stephen F. Austin, 5-2 on Jan 15, 2013 in last year's spring season opener. The victory also snaps, what was an eight-match win streak for Washington State (10-2), while it also marks WSU's first home defeat of the season (7-1).
The Cougars jumped on top early, taking the doubles point for the fourth time this season, as senior Celia Fraser and junior Charlotte Phillips teamed up to secure an 8-3 victory on court three, while the tandem of sophomore Elena Kordolaimi and freshman Despoina Vogasari combined to win a nail-biter, 8-6, over WSU's Elizaveta Luzina and Lize Leenknecht.
However, Washington State soon showed why it was 10-1 on the season coming in, as it rallied to take the first two singles points on court two and three to command an overall 2-1 advantage over the Cougars.
But then the fun began, as sophomore Maria Andrea Cardenas bounced back from her heartbreaking third set defeat last week, rallying to take the final two sets over Olga Musilovich, claiming the victory on court four, 3-6, 6-1, 6-2, to equalize things at 2-2.
Vogasari then followed that up with a gutsy performance of her own, as she rallied to defeat Elizaveta Luzina, 4-6, 6-4, 6-4 from the No. 1 position, dropping Lunzina to 21-4 overall on the season, while Vogasari improved 11-3 overall and 7-0 in dual match play.
With Houston leading 3-1, the momentum had swung, and freshman Tina Rupert capitalized, handily defeating Dajana Ognjenovic in straight sets, 6-3, 6-4, to clinch the big road win for the Cougars.
Junior Charlotte then finished off what was a streak of four unanswered points for the Cougars, taking down WSU's Charlotte Koning, 6-4, 3-6, 1-0 (13-11) to bring the match to the final of 5-2.
Monumental Win in Pullman
The Cougars' 5-2 over No. 59 Washington State on Friday is the highest ranked opponent Houston has defeated since also defeating then ranked No. 59 Stephen F. Austin, 5-2, on Jan. 15, 2013 in last year's spring season opener. The win also snapped what was a brief two-match road losing streak going back to last season.
Vogasari Makes History
Freshman sensation Despoina Vogasari has been absolutely dominant for the Cougars this season, and she was finally recognized for it this week, as she became the first Houston Cougar to be named American Athletic Conference Player of the Week on Tuesday.
The Athens, Greece native posted a 4-0 overall record last week, going 2-0 in singles action from the No. 1 position, while teaming up with sophomore Elena Kordolaimi to post a 2-0 mark in doubles play vs. No. 70 Kansas and Mississippi State last week.
In addition to her perfect record, Vogasari managed to defeat Mississippi State's No. 72 Georgia Patrasc last Sunday in dominating fashion, 6-1, 6-2, marking Houston's first victory over a ranked individual in over six years.
On Friday, she took down Kansas' Dylan Windom, 6-3, 6-2, handing her one of her two losses on the season.
Climbing Toward the Top
Houston finds itself in the national rankings for a second straight week, as it moved up two spots to No. 64 in the nation in this week's ITA poll. The ranking is UH's highest since 2002, and it's just two spots off the best placement in school history (ranked No. 62 on Feb. 20, 2002)...the No. 64 ranking is also second highest in The American, just behind No. 32 Memphis.
Cougar Individuals on the National Stage
In addition to the team ranking, junior Elena Kordolaimi and freshman Despoina Vogasari have garnered national attention in the latest polls as well, as Kordolaimi is ranked 122nd nationally in singles play, while Vogasari is just three spots behind at 125th...The tandem is a combined 10-2 in dual match singles action so far this spring, while the two have paired up to go 5-0 in doubles action...It's the first time Houston has had an individual nationally ranked since 2002, while it's also the first time UH has had two or more players ranked simultaneously since 1985.
Charlotte the Clutch Clincher
Junior Charlotte Phillips is 4-2 in singles action so far this spring and 12-4 overall. Three of her four dual match singles victories this season have been match-clinchers for the Cougars. She's clinched the victory in three of Houston's six wins so far this season.
Houston is 2-1 so far this season against ranked opponents, with its lone defeat coming by the slimmest of margins, a 4-3 loss to then No. 70 Kansas on Feb. 14. The Cougars will continue a stretch where they play four straight matches against ranked opponents, which started with their match at No. 59 Washington State on Friday. Houston will now take on No. 40 Washington on Sunday, before it heads to Austin, to clash with in-state rival No. 18 Texas on Feb. 28. Houston will then return home to play No. 23 Tulsa on March 1.
Houston (6-1) is off to its best seven-match start since the 2009 spring campaign. The Cougars eventually began that season 11-1.
They All Count the Same
Houston is a combined 11-1 from the No. 5 and No. 6 positions so far in singles play this year, compared to a 10-4 combined record from the No. 1 and No. 2 positions.
Brewing Something Special
Freshman Despoina Vogasari is currently raked No. 125 in the latest ITA poll, and by the looks of things, that ranking should only continue to climb higher, as she's off to a 11-3 start this season and 7-0 in dual play singles action. She also is 5-0 in doubles play this spring.
Can't Run With Rupert
Freshman Tina Rupert has gotten off to a dominating 4-1 start this spring in singles action, after starting just 5-3 in the fall.
The three newcomers in sophomore Maria Andrea Cardenas, freshman Despoina Vogasari, and freshman Tina Rupert are a combined 16-3 in dual play singles action this season and 31-12 overall.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 62-22 in three seasons overall as a head coach...he currently owns a record of 19-12 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 wrap up their first road trip of the season, when they head to in-state rival No. 18 Texas, Friday at 2:00 p.m. CT