No. 30 Houston Aims to Stay Hot in Austin

Feb. 26, 2014

#30 Houston (7-1) at #26 Texas (3-6)
When Friday, February 28, 2014 | 2:30 p.m. CT
Where Penick-Allison Tennis Center • Austin, Texas.
Match Coverage Live Stats | Twitter Coverage
Social Media    
Series History • Texas leads all-time series 19-0
• UH's first meeting at Texas since 03/31/96
• Houston is 0-7 all-time in Austin
About Houston

Top Performers
• Despoina Vogasari (12-3, 8-0 Dual)
• Maria Cardenas (12-5, 6-2 Dual)
• Tina Rupert (10-4, 5-1 Dual)

ITA Ranking: #30
Road Record: 2-0
Current Streak: Won 3
Last Five Matches: 4-1
Season Stats

About Texas

Top Performers
• #16 Breaunna Addison (14-8, 6-3 Dual)
• #76 Ratnika Batra (11-6, 3-2 Dual)
• #106 Elizabeth Begley (12-11, 6-3 Dual)

ITA Ranking: #26
Home Record: 3-3
Current Streak: Lost 6
Last Five Matches: 0-5
Season Stats

Up Next For Houston March 1 vs. No. 23 Tulsa
March 5 vs. Temple
March 8 vs. Connecticut
March 8 vs. Tyler Junior College
March 12 at No. 44 Utah

HOUSTON---After receiving their highest ranking since the computer polls were instituted in 2001, the Cougars return to action this week with another chance to bolster their resume, as they head to Austin to play No. 26 Texas, Friday at 2:30 p.m. CT, before they return home to take on No. 17 Tulsa, 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 at Texas. To access live stats for the match visit www.texassports.com, click the women's tennis schedule page then click the "Live Stats" link.

Follow the Cougars!
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).

A Look at the Series...

Houston vs. Texas

Overall Record: 0-19

Home Record: 0-8

Away Record: 0-7

Neutral Site Record: 0-4

Longest Win Streak: N/A

Longest Losing Streak: 19 matches

Current Streak: Lost 19

Record in Last 10 Meetings: 0-10

First Meeting: March 6, 1981 in Houston, Texas (L, 0-9)

Last Meeting: March 31, 1996 in Austin, Texas (L, 0-9)

The Series Match-by-Match

03/06/81 Texas, L, 0-9

11/19/82 vs. Texas, L, 2-7

04/13/83 Texas, L, 3-6

04/04/84 at Texas, L, 0-9

04/09/85 Texas, L, 1-8

04/08/86 at Texas, L, 3-6

03/14/87 Texas, L, 3-6

03/30/88 at Texas, L, 3-6

03/03/89 Texas, L, 1-8

04/17/90 at Texas, L, 1-8

04/02/91 Texas, L, 2-7

03/11/92 at Texas, L, 0-9

04/18/92 vs. Texas, L, 0-5

02/27/93 Texas, L, 0-6

04/23/93 vs. Texas, L, 0-6

03/10/94 at Texas, L, 0-8

04/22/94 vs. Texas, L, 0-5

02/25/95 Texas, L, 0-8

03/31/96 at Texas, L, 0-9

Series Notes: This will mark the 20th all-time meeting between the two schools, but just the first since 1996...The Cougars have never beaten the Longhorns in 19 tries, and are 0-7 all-time vs. Texas in Austin, with their last meeting at Texas coming on March 31, 1996. That was also the last time these two teams have met...the largest margin of defeat to Texas were 9-0 losses on 03/06/81, 04/04/84, 03/11/92, and 03/31/96...the closest UH has ever come to beating Texas were 6-3 defeats (4x) on 04/13/83, 04/08/86, 03/14/8, 03/30/88...Houston has been shutout by Texas in each of their last eight meetings and 10 times in series history.      

Talking about Texas
The Longhorns enter this one at 3-6 overall and losers of six straight. However, Texas is still ranked at No. 26 in the nation, as eight of its nine matches thus far have come against top-25 opponents, including matchups vs. No. 1 Stanford, No. 5 UCLA, and No. 7 Northwestern. The Longhorns are led by the No. 16 player in the country in sophomore Addison Breunna, who leads the team in wins with 14, as she's gone 14-8 overall this season and 6-3 from the No. 1 spot. Addison and freshman Pippa Horn also rank as the 40th best doubles tandem in the nation, as the two lead the team in doubles wins with nine. In addition to Breunna, the Longhorns sport two other nationally ranked players in Ratnika Batra (53) and Elizabeth Begley (78). The Longhorns are coached by Patty Fendick-McCain, who is in her ninth season with the program.

In the Rankings
Houston enters this one at No. 30 in the nation, while Texas is placed at 26th.

Houston vs. Ranked Opponents
Houston will be going up against its third straight ranked opponent and its fifth of the season, as its gone 3-1 vs. ranked teams so far this season...the three wins over ranked teams this spring is already the most since Houston also collected three ranked victories during the 2003-04 campaign...five ranked opponents played this season already equals the amount of ranked squads the Cougars played all of last season...Houston's win over No. 40 Washington last Sunday was the highest ranked opponent the Cougars had defeated since downing No. 40 Louisville on March 22, 2008

Last time out for the Cougars
It all came down to Tina Rupert's court five matchup, and she delivered with a dramatic, come-from-behind, 1-6, 6-4, 6-3 victory to seal Houston's 4-3 upset win over No. 40 Washington, last Sunday afternoon inside the Nordstrom Tennis Center.

The freshman looked anything but inexperienced over the weekend, as her two singles victories at Washington State and Washington each represented the clinching points for Houston, as it was able to earn back-to-back road victories over ranked opponents for the first time since the 2001-02 season, while the Cougars' win over the Huskies on Sunday marked the program's highest ranked victory since defeating No. 40 Louisville (4-3) on March 22, 2008.

Washington (8-2) began the match showing why it was considered as one of the top programs in the country, as it earned 8-2 and 8-3 doubles victories on courts one and two, to claim a 1-0 lead over the Cougars heading into singles play. Celia Fraser and Charlotte Phillips improved to 3-0 as a doubles tandem this year, as they won their doubles matchup 8-7 (7-0) over the Huskies' Julija Lukac and Andjela Nemcevic.

With Houston (7-1) trailing 1-0, junior Charlotte Phillips put the Cougars on the board, easily defeating Natali Coronel in straight sets, 6-0, 6-4 to tie things up at 1-1.

Then freshman Despoina Vogasari showed everyone why she is ranked No. 125 in the country, as she came through with 6-3, 6-4, straight set victory, improving to a perfect 8-0 during dual play, while more importantly sporting Houston its first lead of the day, at 2-1.

But just when the Cougars thought they had some momentum rolling, the Huskies struck back with a statement of their own, taking victories on courts two and three to reclaim a 3-2 advantage.

With Houston's back up against the wall, sophomore Maria Andrea Cardenas dug deep to earn a clutch 7-6 (7-4) set two victory on court four, clinching the overall 6-2, 7-6 (7-4) win over Andjela Nemcevic to keep the Cougars alive and equalize things at 3-3.

And then came Rupert, who sealed deal for Houston on court five, clinching the match on the third and final set, to bring the final to 4-3.

Houston Reaches Historic Ranking
Houston finds itself in the national rankings for a third straight week, but more importantly the Cougars jumped up 34 spots to No. 30 in the nation, which is the highest school rankings since the computer polls were instituted back in 2001...the 34 spot jump was the highest jump of any team in this week's poll after the Cougars collected back-to-back wins at then No. 59 Washington State and at No. 40 Washington last weekend.

Sitting at the Top
The Cougars are the highest ranked team in The American, sitting in front of Memphis who comes in at No. 43 this week and USF who was placed at No. 61. This week marks the first time Houston has been ranked the highest in its conference at any point in any season since the computer rankings were established in 2001.

Milestone Moment for Sullivan
Houston's win at No. 40 Washington last Sunday also marked head coach Patrick Sullivan's 20th win at Houston. He's currently 20-12 in his second season with the Cougars.

Texas Connections
Volunteer assistant coach Daniel Whitehead played his collegiate tennis at the University of Texas from 2009-12.

What a Weekend in Washington
Houston's wins at No. 59 Washington State and No. 40 Washington mark the two highest ranked opponents UH has defeated in consecutive matches in school history....last weekend also marked the first time the Cougars had defeated ranked teams in consecutive outings since downing both No. 75 Utah (5-0) on March 13 and No. 75 UCF (5-2) on March 16, 2004...Cougars earned back-to-back ranked road wins for the first time since 2001-02, when they won at No. 69 Penn State (5-2) on March 4 and took a 4-3 win at No. 75 Virginia Tech on March 7.

Road Warriors
The Cougars are 2-0 on the road so far this season...over the weekend UH snapped what was a perfect 7-0 home mark for Washington State and what was 5-0 home start for Washington. The two schools were a combined 12-0 at home this season before Houston came and beat them both.

What's Trending?
The Cougars have taken the doubles point in two of the last three matches, and in four of seven opportunities overall this season...Houston has won three straight matches and two consecutive on the road...the Cougars have not lost from the No. 1 (8-0) and No. 6 (7-0) positions yet this season...Houston hasn't scored less than three points in any match this season.

Vogasari Claims Back-to-Back Player of the Week Awards 
Freshman sensation Despoina Vogasari has now been named American Athletic Conference Tennis Player of the Week in back-to-back weeks. It's the first time any Cougar has earned consecutive conference player of the week honors in school history. The freshman is off to a 12-3 start in singles play this season, including a perfect 8-0 singles mark in dual match play, while she's also 2-0 vs. nationally ranked opponents this season. 

Last Week's MVP
While Despoina Vogasari collected conference honors for her performance last week, there's no doubt who the team MVP was. Freshman Tina Rupert has represented each of the last two clinching points for the Cougars, including notching a dramatic come-from-behind, walk-off 1-6, 6-4, 6-3 win over Riko Shimizu from the No. 5 spot last Sunday at Washington.

Charlotte the Clutch Clincher
Junior Charlotte Phillips is 13-4 in overall singles action and 5-2 in dual play. Three of her five dual match singles victories this season have been match-clinchers for the Cougars. She's clinched the victory in three of Houston's seven wins so far this season.

Battle Tested
Houston is 3-1 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 play the third match of a four-match stretch where they play four straight matches against ranked opponents. Houston will now play at No. 26 Texas on Friday, before returning home to take on No. 17 Tulsa, Saturday out at the John E. Hoff Tennis Courts.

Feb. 21 at No. 59 Washington State (W, 5-2)
Feb. 23 at No. 40 Washington (W, 4-3)
Feb. 28 at No. 26 Texas
March 1 vs. No. 17 Tulsa

Houston (7-1) is off to its best eight-match start since the 2009 spring campaign. The Cougars eventually began that season 11-1.

They All Count the Same
Houston is a combined 13-1 from the No. 5 and No. 6 positions so far in singles play this year, compared to an 11-5 combined record from the No. 1 and No. 2 positions.

Can't Run With Rupert
Freshman Tina Rupert has gotten off to a dominating 5-1 start this spring in singles action, after starting just 5-3 in the fall. She has clinched each of the last two matches for Houston.

Quick Leaners
The three newcomers in sophomore Maria Andrea Cardenas, freshman Despoina Vogasari, and freshman Tina Rupert are a combined 19-3 in dual play singles action this season and 34-12 overall.

Recycled Notes

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.

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 63-22 in three seasons overall as a head coach...he currently owns a record of 20-12 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 return home to play host to No. 17 Tulsa, Saturday at 11:00 a.m. CT out at the John E. Hoff Tennis Courts in what will be the highest ranked opponent Houston has played since 2012.



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