March 20, 2014
#24 Houston (11-3, 2-0 AAC) vs. Louisiana Tech (12-2)/ at SMU (6-9, 2-2 AAC)
|When||Friday, March 21, 2014 | 2:00 p.m. CT
Saturday, March 22, 2014 | 12:00 p.m. CT
|Where|| Dallas, Texas|
8th all-time meeting between the two schools
20th all-time meeting between the two schools
|About Louisiana Tech/ SMU||
|Up Next For Houston||
March 25 vs. UAB
March 28 at Dartmouth
March 30 at No. 37 Harvard
HOUSTON-- The Cougars look to get back to their winning ways, as they head to Dallas to take on Louisiana Tech, Friday at 2:00 p.m. CT and conference rival SMU, Saturday at 12:00 p.m. CT.
Houston (11-3) enters this one in the midst of one of its most successful seasons in school history, as the Cougars have won four of their last five matches, while they've already defeated four ranked opponents on the season.
Freshman Despoina Vogasari continues to lead the charge for UH, as she owns a team-best record of 16-5 overall in singles play, while she's going 12-2 dual match singles action. Her play has earned her a No. 80 national ranking this season.
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A Look at the Series...
Houston vs. Louisiana Tech
Overall Record: 7-0
Home Record: 5-0
Away Record: 2-0
Neutral Site Record: 0-0
Longest Win Streak: 7 matches
Longest Losing Streak: N/A
Current Streak: Won 7
Record in Last 10 Meetings: 7-0
First Meeting: Feb. 7, 2003 in Houston, Texas (W, 6-1)
Last Meeting: April 13, 2012 at Louisiana Tech (W, 6-1)
02/07/03 LOUISIANA TECH, W, 6-1
02/18/05 LOUISIANA TECH, W, 5-2
04/08/06 LOUISIANA TECH, W, 6-0
02/22/08 LOUISIANA TECH, W, 7-0
01/31/09 at Louisiana Tech, W, 7-0
02/19/10 LOUISIANA TECH, W, 6-1
04/13/12 at Louisiana Tech, W, 6-1
Series Notes: Friday's matchup will be the eighth meeting between the two schools and the first since the 2012 campaign...the Cougars are a perfect 7-0 all-time vs. Louisiana Tech, while the two sides have never played on a natural site...the Cougars' largest margin of victory over the Louisiana Tech were 7-0 victories on Feb. 22, 2008 and Jan. 31, 2009...Houston has only given up more than one point to the Techsters once, a 5-2 win on Feb. 18, 2005...Houston has blanked Louisiana Tech twice...the Cougars' average margin of victory over the Techsters is 5.4 points per match.
A Look at the Series...
Houston vs. SMU
Overall Record: 4-15
Home Record: 3-7
Away Record: 0-7
Neutral Site Record: 1-1
Longest Win Streak: 1 match
Longest Losing Streak: 10 matches
Current Streak: Lost 10
Record in Last 10 Meetings: 0-10
First Meeting: April 17, 1980 in Fort Worth, Texas (W, 5-4)
Last Meeting: April 10, 2011 in Houston, Texas (L, 1-4)
04/17/80 vs. SMU, W, 5-4
03/07.81 SMU, L, 2-7
10/01/83 vs. SMU, L, 0-9
03/03/83 SMU, W, 5-4
04/09/84 at SMU, L, 1-8
04/16/85 SMU, W, 5-4
03/21/86 at SMU, L, 4-5
03/10/87 SMU, L, 3-6
02/21/98 SMU, W, 6-3
04/08/00 SMU, L, 1-5
04/08/01 at No. 40 SMU, L, 1-6
03/23/02 SMU, L, 2-5
02/02/03 at No. 65 SMU, L, 0-7
02/22/04 SMU, L, 3-4
03/06/05 at No. 61 SMU, L, 0-7
04/02/06 at No. 52 SMU, L, 2-5
03/11/07 SMU, L, 0-7
02/23/08 at No. 60 SMU, L, 0-7
04/10/11 SMU, L, 1-4
Series Notes: Saturday's matchup will be the 20th meeting between the two schools and the first since the 2011 campaign...the Cougars are just 4-15 all-time vs. SMU and 0-7 on the road, with their last meeting in Dallas coming on Feb. 23, 2008 (L, 0-7)...the Cougars' largest margin of victory over SMU was a 6-3 victory on Feb. 21, 1998...Houston has only given up more than one point to the Techsters once, a 5-2 win on Feb. 18, 2005...Houston's largest margin of defeat was a 9-0 loss on Oct. 1, 1983...the Cougars have been blanked by the Mustangs five times.
Scouting Louisiana Tech
Louisiana Tech (12-2) enters this one winning 12 of its last 13 contests and 3-0 overall on neutral sites, with its only loss during that span coming to No. 70 TCU. Sophomore Alexandra Starkova leads the Techsters, as she's gone 9-4 during dual play, sporting a 7-3 mark from the No. 1 position. Freshman Jazmin Britos has stepped up for Louisiana Tech as well, as she sports a team-best record of 11-2, going 8-1 from the No. 4 position. Marta Sramkova and Melanie Urvoy has been Louisiana Tech's most successful doubles tandem this year, going 7-3 so far.
The Mustangs (6-9, 2-2 The American) enter this one, winning five of their last six matches, with their only loss during that span coming at No. 51 USF. Conversely SMU is 0-6 vs. ranked opponents this season. Bulgakova Vaszilisza serves has SMU's primary No. 1 player, as she's gone 4-7 from the No. 1 spot this year, and stands at 11-10 overall. Yana Erkeeva leads the squad in wins and overall winning percentage, as she's gone 16-7 this season.
The Cougars and Techsters have shared two common opponents this season, in Tyler Junior College and Connecticut, in fact both Houston and Louisiana Tech played the two opponents last weekend out at the John E. Hoff Tennis Courts....Houston and SMU have also shared two common opponents, in Tulsa and Temple. The Cougars went 2-0 vs. this teams while the Mustangs went 1-1.
In the Rankings
Houston enters this one at No. 24 in the nation, while Louisiana Tech and SMU are both unranked.
Last time out for the Cougars
The Cougars just couldn't put it all together on March 12, as No. 37 Utah defeated Houston, 7-0 out at the Eccles Tennis Center, snapping UH's season-long equaling four-match win streak.
For Houston (11-3) the loss is just its second road defeat of the season, while all three overall losses this season have come against ranked opponents.
Utah (9-2) was able to capitalize on a momentum swing right from the very beginning, as the Utes took the doubles point after Utah's Tereza Bekerova and Paige Miles squeezed out a hard fought, 8-6 victory on court one over Despoina Vogasari and Elena Kordolaimi.
Houston dropped the court three contest, while the court two matchup, featuring Maria Cardenas and Tina Rupert was suspended at 7-7 since the doubles point was already decided.
The Utes were able to keep their momentum rolling into singles play, as both Rocio Martin and Charlotte Phillips fell 1-6, 1-6 on courts six and five respectively, giving Utah the commanding 3-0 advantage.
Rupert did her best to keep the Cougars alive, as she battled to the very end in set two, but eventually Utah's Sarah Richter pulled off the 6-2, 7-5 victory over Rupert, to clinch the match for the Utes.
Utah went on to take three more points to bring the final to 7-0.
Cougars Claw into Top 25
Houston finds itself in the national rankings for a seventh straight week, as the Cougars are ranked No. 24 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 recorded program history.
Building a Resume
Houston is trying to make it back to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 1998. So far the Cougars are making a pretty good case, as five of their 11 wins this season have come vs. teams currently ranked in this week's national ITA poll.
No. 66 New Mexico (W, 4-3)
No. 69 Mississippi State (W, 5-2)
No. 50 Washington State (W, 5-2)
No. 42 Washington (W, 4-3)
No. 19 Tulsa (W, 4-3)
Racking up Ranked Wins
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 4-3 record vs. ranked teams so far this year...the Cougars have played seven ranked opponents this season, which is 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.
Houston is 4-3 so far this season against ranked opponents. 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. 24) are the highest ranked team in The American, sitting in front of No. 41 USF, No. 48 Memphis, and No. 60 Louisville...Houston has now been the highest ranked team in the conference for four straight weeks...the Cougars are currently a perfect 2-0 in The American.
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.
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 managed to shutout three straight opponents from March 5 to March 8, in Temple, UConn, and Tyler Junior College. The three consecutive shutouts marked the first time UH had blanked three or more straight opponents since the 2003-04 season. Below is a list of all of the UH shutouts this season:
Jan. 24 vs. UTSA (W, 5-0)
Feb. 8 vs. No. 63 North Texas (W, 5-0)
March 5 vs. Temple (W, 4-0)
March 8 vs. UConn (W, 4-0)
March 8 vs. Tyler JC (W, 5-0)
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.
The Cougars are 2-2 on the road so far this season...up in Washington earlier this year, UH snapped what was a 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 are already the most since the Cougars had nine during the entire 2010-11 campaign.
The Cougars have won the doubles point in three of the last four matches...the Cougars have blanked three of their last four 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.
Houston (11-3) is off to its best 14-match start since the 2009 spring campaign. The Cougars eventually began that season 15-2.
They All Count the Same
Houston is a combined 16-6 from the No. 5 and No. 6 positions so far in singles play this year, compared to a 17-8 combined record from the No. 1 and No. 2 positions. The Cougars are .500 or better from five of six positions this season.
A Team Effort
Seven of eight Cougars have 10 or more wins in singles action this season, while seven of eight are also .500 or better in dual play thus far.
One of the Best
Despoina Vogasari is ranked as the 80th singles player in the nation according to the latest ITA player 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 five 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 14 singles matchups from the No. 1 spot this season, posting a 12-2 record, while claiming a 16-5 record in overall singles action this season. Vogasari is 3-2 vs. nationally ranked opponents this year.
Can't Run With Rupert
Freshman Tina Rupert has gotten off to a dominating 8-3 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 13-6 in overall singles action and 5-4 in dual play. Three of her five dual match singles victories this season have been match-clinchers for the Cougars.
The three newcomers in sophomore Maria Andrea Cardenas, freshman Despoina Vogasari, and freshman Tina Rupert are a combined 29-9 in dual play singles action this season and 44-18 overall.
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.
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.
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 67-24 in three seasons overall as a head coach...he currently owns a record of 24-14 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 take on UAB, Tuesday at 10:00 a.m. CT out at the John E. Hoff Tennis Courts.