March 24, 2014
#24 Houston (13-3) vs. UAB (7-9)
||Tuesday, March 25, 2014 | 10:00 a.m. CT
|| Houston, Texas | John E. Hoff Tennis Courts
||Live Stats | Live Twitter Coverage
8th all-time meeting between the two schools
Houston leads all-time series 4-3
UH is 0-7 all-time at SMU
First meeting since April 10, 2011
#80 Despoina Vogasari (18-5, 14-2 Dual)
Maria Cardenas (15-8, 9-5 Dual)
Tina Rupert (15-6, 10-3 Dual)
ITA Ranking: #24
Home Record: 9-1
Current Streak: Won 2
Last Five Matches: 4-1
Pardis Kianoush (10-5 Dual)
Amy Lowther (7-8 Dual)
Rachel Daniell (6-10 Dual)
Road Record: 0-5
Current Streak: Lost 1
Last Five Matches: 3-2
|Up Next For Houston
March 28 at Dartmouth
March 30 at No. 37 Harvard
HOUSTON-- The Cougars look to earn their third straight victory, when they return home to take on the UAB Blazers, Tuesday at 10:00 a.m. CT out at the John E. Hoff Tennis Courts.
With just seven matches remaining in the regular season the Cougars are looking to make their final push for their very first American Athletic Conference Championship and their first NCAA Tournament appearance since 1998.
Houston (13-3, 3-0 The American) has won six of its last seven matches, including nine of 10 home contests this season, while collecting four wins over ranked teams on the year.
Freshman Despoina Vogasari continues to lead the charge for UH, as she owns a team-best record of 18-5 overall in singles play, while she's gone 14-2 dual match singles action. Her play has earned her a No. 80 national ranking this season.
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.
There will be live stats available for Houston's dual match vs. UAB. To access live stats for the match visit UHCougars.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. UAB
Overall Record: 4-3
Home Record: 3-1
Away Record: 0-1
Neutral Site Record: 1-1
Longest Win Streak: 2 matches (2x)
Longest Losing Streak: 1 match (3x)
Current Streak: Won 2
Record in Last 10 Meetings: 4-3
First Meeting: Feb. 17, 1996 in Houston, Texas (L, 4-5)
Last Meeting: Feb. 8, 2004 in Houston, Texas (W, 6-1)
02/17/96 UAB, L, 4-5
02/15/97 UAB, W, 8-1
04/19/98 vs. UAB, W, 5-2
04/15/99 vs. UAB, L, 3-5
04/02/01 at No. 49 UAB, L, 2-5
03/01/02 UAB, W, 4-1
02/08/04 UAB, W, 6-1
Series Notes: Tuesday's matchup will be the eighth meeting between the two schools and the first since the 2004 campaign...the Cougars are 4-3 all-time vs. UAB and 3-1 at home vs. the Blazers...the Cougars' largest margin of victory was an 8-1 win on Feb. 15, 1997...UH's largest margin of defeat was a 5-2 loss on April. 2, 2001...Houston's has outscored UAB by an average of 1.7 points per match all-time...the Cougars have won each of their last three home matches vs. the Blazers.
UAB (7-9) enters this one winning three of their last four matches, but have still yet to record a road win this season (0-5). Houston will be the fourth ranked team UAB has played this season, as it's gone 1-2 during its last three ranked affairs. Pardis Kianoush leads the Blazers in overall wins and win percentage this season, as she's gone 10-5 overall and 8-5 from the No. 3 spot. Rachel Daniell has gone 6-10 from the No. 1 spot this year for the Blazers. Rachel Daniell and Elaine Simon represent UAB's most successful doubles team going, 8-6 on the season.
The Cougars and Blazers have shared four common opponents on the season in UTSA, Louisiana Tech, Southern Miss, and Mississippi State. The Cougars went 4-0 vs. those teams, while the Blazers went 0-4.
A win on Tuesday vs. UAB would give head coach Patrick Sullivan his 70th career victory as a head coach.
In the Rankings
Houston enters this one at No. 24 in the nation, while UAB is unranked
Last time out for the Cougars
For the second consecutive day, the Cougars came out and dominated from the very first serve, taking down in-state rival SMU 5-2, last Saturday afternoon in Dallas.
For Houston (13-3, 3-0 The American), the win marked its first-ever victory at SMU (6-10, 2-3 The American) and the first win over the Mustangs since Feb. 21, 1998, snapping what was a 10-match losing skid.
"SMU is an extremely talented team who is finally healthy after being injured all season and challenged us on every court," said head coach Patrick Sullivan. "We expected a very competitive match and played it as if it were the conference semifinals in Florida in a month, which today very well may have been a preview of."
"On a personal note, the entire team has had this one circled on the calendar for some time and take a lot of pride in ending SMU's streak against the Cougars and starting a new streak of our own. Overall, I'm very proud of the effort today."
The Cougars made a statement early, as Despoina Vogasari and Elena Kordolaimi teamed up to take the doubles matchup on court one, 8-4, while Maria Cardenas and Tina Rupert took down SMU's Holly Verner and Hristina Dishkova, 8-4 on court two to secure the overall doubles point and the 1-0 lead.
With Houston up 1-0, Vogasari (18-5) kept the positive momentum rolling in singles play, as she brought home the win from the No. 1 spot, 6-2, 6-4 over Vaszilisza Bulgakova.
Kordolaimi (12-5) then put the Cougars in a dominating position, as she earned a convincing 6-3, 6-4 win over Hristina Dishkova on court two to sport UH the 3-0 advantage.
Moments later, Rupert (15-6) fittingly locked things up for Houston, as she earned a straight set 6-3, 6-4 victory over Yana Erkeeva from the No. 4 spot, as she's represented the clinching point for the Cougars in two straight matches and five Houston's last eight victories overall.
The Cougars would eventually tack on one more before winning by the final of 5-2.
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 13 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 3-0 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 six 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...four of Houston's last five victories have been shutouts:
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)
March 21 vs. Louisiana Tech (W, 4-0)
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 3-2 on the road so far this season and 1-0 in neutral site matches...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 five of the last six matches...the Cougars have blanked four of their last six opponents...Houston is 9-0 vs. unranked teams this season...the Cougars have been placed in the national rankings in five consecutive weeks ...Houston hasn't scored less than three points in any home match this season.
Houston (13-3) is off to its best 16-match start since the 2009 spring campaign. The Cougars eventually began that season 15-2.
They All Count the Same
Houston is a combined 18-7 from the No. 5 and No. 6 positions so far in singles play this year, compared to a 21-8 combined record from the No. 1 and No. 2 positions. The Cougars are .500 from every position this season.
A Team Effort
Seven of eight Cougars have 10 or more wins in singles action this season, while every player is .500 or better.
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 16 singles matchups from the No. 1 spot this season, posting a 14-2 record, while claiming a 18-5 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 10-3 start this spring in singles action, after starting just 5-3 in the fall. She has clinched five of the last eight match victories for Houston, including each of the last two.
Charlotte the Clutch Clincher
Junior Charlotte Phillips is 14-6 in overall singles action and 6-4 in dual play. Three of her six 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 48-19 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.
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 is in his second season at Houston with an overall coaching record of 69-24 in three seasons overall as a head coach...he currently owns a record of 26-14 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 hit the road once again this weekend, as they'll head east to take on Dartmouth, Friday at 4:00 p.m. CT and at Harvard, Sunday at 10:00 a.m. CT.