No. 23 Houston Aims For Road Victory at Utah

    March 11, 2014

    #23 Houston (11-2) at #37 Utah (8-2)

    When Wednesday, March 12, 2014 | 1:00 p.m. CT
    Where Eccles Tennis Center • Salt Lake City, Utah
    Match Coverage none
    Social Media

    Series History • 12th all-time meeting between UH an Utah
    • Utah leads all-time series 6-5
    • UH 1-2 all-time at Utah
    • First meeting since March 13, 2004

    About Houston

    Top Performer
    • #80 Despoina Vogasari (16-4, 12-1 Dual)

    ITA Ranking: #23
    Road Record: 2-1
    Current Streak: Won 4
    Last Five Matches: 4-1
    Season Stats

    About Utah

    Top Performer
    • #125 Tereza Bekerova

    ITA Ranking:37
    Home Record: 2-0
    Current Streak: Won 3
    Last Five Matches: 4-1

    Up Next For Houston
    March 16 vs. Louisiana Tech
    March 22 at SMU
    March 25 vs. UAB
    March 25 vs. Prairie View A&M
    March 28 at Dartmouth

    HOUSTON---The Cougars take their four-match win streak to Salt Lake City, as they'll face off against No. 37 Utah, Wednesday at 1:00 p.m. CT.

    Houston (11-2) enters this one off to its best 13-match start since the 2008-09 season, much thanks to freshman Despoina Vogasari who has collected a 12-1 dual match singles record so far this season. She's also taken home three of the past four American Athletic Conference Player of the Week awards

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    A Look at the Series...

    Houston vs. Utah

    Overall Record: 5-6

    Home Record: 3-2

    Away Record: 1-2

    Neutral Site Record: 1-2

    Longest Win Streak: 2 matches

    Longest Losing Streak: 4 matches

    Current Streak: N/A

    Record in Last 10 Meetings: 4-6

    First Meeting: March 16, 1985 in Irvine, Calif. (W, 8-1)

    Last Meeting: March 13, 2004 in Houston, Texas (W, 5-0)

    Match-by-Match History

    03/16/85 vs. Utah, W, 8-1

    04/08/88 UTAH, L, 2-7

    03/23/90 at Utah, W, 6-3

    03/24/91 UTAH, W, 5-4

    03/22/92 vs. Utah, L, 1-8

    04/10/93 vs. Utah, L, 4-5

    02/12/94 at Utah, L, 4-5

    04/10/95 UTAH, L, 2-7

    03/03/96 at No. 42 Utah, L, 3-6

    03/27/98 UTAH, W, 5-1

    03/13/04 No. 75 UTAH, W, 5-0

    Series Notes: Wednesday's matchup will be the 12th meeting between the two schools and the first since the 2004 campaign...the Cougars are 1-2 all-time at Utah, with their last meeting coming on April 10, 1995, Houston fell 3-6 to a then ranked No. 42 Utah squad...Houston is 1-1 all-time vs. ranked Utah teams...the Cougars' largest margin of victory over the Utes was an 8-1 win back on March 16, 1985, which also happened to be the first ever meeting between the two programs...Houston's largest margin of defeat was a 1-8 loss on March 22, 1992...UH has recorded one all-time shutout vs. Utah, it was a 5-0 win on March 13, 2004...Utah has never blanked Houston.

    Scouting Utah
    No. 37 Utah (8-2, 2-0 Pac-12) enters this one on a three-match win streak and tied for first place in the Pac-12 after picking up back-to-back conference wins over Oregon (4-0) and Washington State (4-3) over the weekend. The Utes are led by sophomore Tereza Bekerova, who is ranked No. 125 in the nation.

    Shared Interests
    The Cougars and Utes have shared two common opponents this season, in North Texas and Washington State. Both the Cougars and Utes were victorious over both schools.

    Conference Call
    This will be Houston's third time facing a Pac-12 team this season. The Cougars are 2-0 vs. Pac-12 opponents on the year, earning wins at Washington State and Washington earlier in the season.

    In the Rankings
    Houston enters this one at No. 23 in the nation, while Utah is placed at No. 37

    Last time out for the Cougars
    The Cougars couldn't have asked for a better Saturday afternoon last weekend, as they swept their doubleheader, earning a 4-0 win over American Athletic Conference rival UConn before taking down Tyler Junior College later in the day, 5-0, out at the John E. Hoff Tennis Courts.


    Racking up Ranked Wins
    Cougars Claw into Top 25
    Houston finds itself in the national rankings for a sixth straight week, as the Cougars are ranked No. 23 in the nation, according to this week's ITA poll. Houston had been placed as high as No. 21 this season, back on March 4. That ranking was also the highest in program history.

    From Feb. 8 to March 1, six of Houston's seven matches played came against ranked teams, including four in a row to end that period...during that stretch, the Cougars played three consecutive ranked opponents on the road...The Cougars have posted a 4-2 record vs. ranked teams so far this year...after Wednesday the Cougars will have played seven ranked opponents this season, which will be tied for the most since the 2007-08 campaign, while the four wins over ranked teams this spring is already the most recorded ranked victories the Cougars have earned in any season in school history...Houston's win on March 1 vs. No. 17 Tulsa was also the highest ranked opponent the Cougars had ever defeated.

    Battle Tested
    Houston is 4-2 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 recently finished up a stretch where they took on four straight ranked opponents, including three on the road. The four consecutive ranked matchups starting with No. 59 Washington State on Feb. 21 were the most consecutive ranked matches Houston had played since playing five straight ranked opponents during the 2000-01 campaign. Here's how it all went down:

    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 (L, 0-5)
    March 1 vs. No. 17 Tulsa (W, 4-3)

    Making American History
    With Houston's No. 21 ranking back on March 4, the Cougars became the very first American Athletic Conference team to be ranked within the nation's top 25.

    Sitting at the Top
    The Cougars (No. 23) are the highest ranked team in The American, sitting in front of No. 43 Memphis, No. 51 USF, and No. 75 Louisville...Houston has now been the highest ranked team in the conference for three straight weeks.

    A Monumental Win
    Houston's 4-3 win over No. 17 Tulsa on March 1 marked UH's highest ranked victory since the computer rankings were implemented in 2001.

    Clutch Cougars
    Houston is 3-1 in one-point decisions this year. Below is a look at Houston's one-point victories this season:

    Jan. 26 vs. New Mexico, No. 6- Rocio Martin def. Susan Baklini 7-5, 4-6, 10-8
    Feb. 23 at No. 40 Washington, No. 5- Tina Rupert def. Riko Shimizu 1-6, 6-4, 6-3
    March 1 vs. No. 17 Tulsa, No. 2- Elena Kordolaimi def. Isaura Enrique 6-3, 6-7, 6-2

    Keeping it Clean
    The Cougars have kept a clean score sheet on five separate occasions this season, while they've currently shutout each of their last three opponents. Houston has recorded shutout victories over Tyler Junior College (5-0), UConn (4-0), Temple (4-0), North Texas (5-0), and UTSA (5-0). Houston has recorded three consecutive shutout wins for the first time since the 2003-04 season.

    The Comeback Kids
    Don't call it a comeback! Well, actually more times than not this season you can, as Houston has notched four come-from-behind victories this season: vs. New Mexico, Washington State, Washington, and Tulsa.

    Road Warriors
    The Cougars are 2-1 on the road so far this season...up in Washington earlier this year, UH snapped what wasa perfect 7-0 home mark for Washington State and what was a 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.

    Protecting the Home Courts
    Houston is 9-1 at home this season. The nine wins already are the most since the Cougars had nine during the entire 2010-11 campaign.

    What's Trending?
    The Cougars have won the doubles point in three straight matches...the Cougars have blanked each of their last three opponents...Houston is 7-0 vs. unranked teams this season...the Cougars have been ranked in the national rankings in five consecutive weeks ...Houston hasn't scored less than three points in any home match this season.

    #Winning
    Houston (11-2) is off to its best 13-match start since the 2009 spring campaign. The Cougars eventually began that season 15-2.

    They All Count the Same
    Houston is a combined 16-4 from the No. 5 and No. 6 positions so far in singles play this year, compared to a 17-6 combined record from the No. 1 and No. 2 positions. The Cougars are .500 or better at every position this season.

    One of the Best
    Despoina Vogasari was ranked as the 80th singles player in the nation according to this week's latest ITA rankings. The ranking is the highest any Cougar has been ranked since Biljana Dimovska was also ranked 80th back on Feb. 24, 2004.

    Vogasari Garnering National Attention
    Freshman sensation Despoina Vogasari has been named American Athletic Conference Tennis Player of the Week in three of the last four weeks. She's the first Cougar in program history to win a conference Player of the Week award three or more times during her career.

    Yeah, She's No. 1
    Freshman Despoina Vogasari has played each of her 13 singles matchups from the No. 1 spot this season, posting a 12-1 record, while claiming a 16-4 record in overall singles action this season. Vogasari is 3-1 vs. nationally ranked opponents this year, after earning a 7-6, 7-5 victory over 70th ranked Samantha Vickers in Houston's win over Tulsa on March 1.

    Can't Run With Rupert
    Freshman Tina Rupert has gotten off to a dominating 8-2 start this spring in singles action, after starting just 5-3 in the fall. She has clinched three of the last six match victories for Houston.

    Charlotte the Clutch Clincher
    Junior Charlotte Phillips is 13-5 in overall singles action and 5-3 in dual play. Three of her five dual match singles victories this season have been match-clinchers for the Cougars.

    Quick Leaners
    The three newcomers in sophomore Maria Andrea Cardenas, freshman Despoina Vogasari, and freshman Tina Rupert are a combined 29-6 in dual play singles action this season and 44-15 overall.

    Recycled Notes

    What a Weekend in Washington

    Houston's wins at No. 59 Washington State and No. 40 Washington on Feb. 21 and Feb. 23 mark the two highest ranked opponents UH has defeated in consecutive matches in school history....the 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.

    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.

    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 is in his second season at Houston with an overall coaching record of 67-23 in three seasons overall as a head coach...he currently owns a record of 24-13 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.

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    Up Next for the Cougars
    The Cougars will return home to take on Louisiana Tech, Sunday at 1:00 p.m. CT out at the Houston Country Club.


     

     

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