March 29, 2014
#27 Houston (15-3) vs. #50 Harvard (7-4)
|When||Sunday, March 30, 2014 | 10:00 a.m. CT|
|Where|| Cambridge, Mass. | Murr Center|
|Match Coverage||Live Twitter Coverage|
Third meeting between the two schools
ITA Ranking: 50
|Up Next For Houston||
April 6 vs. No. 25 DePaul
April 9 vs. Texas State
April 12 at Texas A&M-Corpus Christi
April 15 vs. Prairie View A&M
CAMBRIDGE, Mass.--With just five matches left to play in the regular season, the Cougars continue their push toward the postseason, as they wrap up their east coast road swing at No. 50 Harvard, Sunday at 10:00 a.m. CT.
The Cougars enter this one looking to extend their win streak to five consecutive matches, which would be the longest since also winning five in a row during the 2011-12 campaign
Sunday's affair vs. Harvard will mark the first of back-to-back matchups against ranked opponents, as the Cougars will return home to take on No. 25 DePaul next Sunday out at the Houston Country Club.
Houston (15-3, 3-0 The American) has won eight of its last nine matches, including four of six road contests this season, while collecting four wins over ranked teams on the year overall
Freshman Despoina Vogasari continues to lead the charge for UH, as she owns a team-best record of 19-6 overall in singles play, while she's gone 15-3 dual match singles action. Her play has earned her a No. 92 national ranking this season.
Elena Kordolaimi is starting to come on strong for the Cougars, as she's won four straight singles matchups, while she's teamed up with Vogasari to take three of her last four doubles matchups as well. The Lamia, Greece native enters this one as the reigning American Athletic Conference Player of the Week.
Freshman Tina Rupert has come up big for the Cougars as of late, as she's clinched five of the last 10 victories for UH, while she's won a team-high equaling four straight matches overall.
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A Look at the Series...
Houston vs. Harvard
Overall Record: 1-1
Home Record: 0-1
Away Record: 0-0
Neutral Site Record: 1-0
Longest Win Streak: 1 match
Longest Losing Streak: 1 match
Current Streak: Lost 1
Record in Last 10 Meetings: N/A
First Meeting: March 28, 1991 in Irvine, Calif. (W, 5-4)
Last Meeting: March 29, 1999 in Houston Texas, (L, 4-5)
The Series Match-by-Match
03/28/91 vs. Harvard, W, 5-4
03/29/99 HARVARD, L, 4-5
Harvard (7-4) enters this one looking to snap a two-match losing streak after going just 1-2 on their recent California road swing. It hopes to get back to its winning ways as the Houston match marks the beginning of what will be a three-match homestand. Harvard is led by Spencer Liang who is 6-2 from the No. 1 position this season. Monica Lin has also been a force this season, as she's a perfect 10-0 during dual play so far this season, all from the No. 2 spot. Liang and Lin also make up the 57th best double tandem in the nation.
In the Rankings
Houston enters this one at No. 27 in the nation, while Harvard is ranked 50th.
If Despoina Vogasari can pick up a singles victory on Sunday at Harvard, she'll become the program's first 20-match winner in over six seasons. A victory will also give her 16 dual match wins this season, which will put her just four wins away from ninth on the school's all-time single-season dual match victories list (Kami Miller, 20-5 in 2006, Susanne Anderson, 20-4 in 1997).
Houston's Dynamic Duo
Despoina Vogasari and Elena Kordolaimi have combined to go 24-7 from the No. 1 and No. 2 positions thus far during dual play...the two have combined to go 11-7 as a doubles tandem this season and 10-5 in dual play. Both marks lead the team.
Just Checking in
Be sure to visit www.UHCougars.com and click on the women's tennis page to watch the Houston Tennis season update video featuring head coach Patrick Sullivan, junior Elena Kordolaimi, and freshman Despoina Vogasari.
Last time out for the Cougars
It wasn't easy, but as they've done so many times already this season, the Cougars came up with big points when they needed to, as they hung on to secure a come-from-behind, 4-3 win over Dartmouth, last Friday evening out at the Boss Tennis Center.
For Houston (15-3), the win extends its win streak to a season-high equaling four straight victories, while it matches its best 18-match match start since the 2009 campaign. The Cougars also improve to 4-1 in one-point affairs this season and notch their fifth comeback victory of the season.
"Today was one of those matches where we didn't have our best stuff, but I was impressed with the way the girls stepped up and did what they needed to do against a very tough Dartmouth team," said head coach Patrick Sullivan. "I have a lot of respect for Coach Dallis and I could not have been more impressed with the character and determination of the Dartmouth team."
"Those close results were legitimate. That team gave us all we could handle and we're fortunate to get out of New Hampshire with a win."
Dartmouth (4-6) came out of the gate ready to challenge for an upset, as it took the court one doubles matchup 8-2, before Charlotte Phillips and Rocio Martin responded to take their match on court three, 8-5.
Then in an epic battle on court two, Dartmouth's Melissa Matsuoka and Akiko Okuda were just able to outlast Houston's tandem of Tina Rupert and Maria Cardenas, 8-7(5), as the Cougars dropped the doubles point for just the second time in the last eight matches.
However, Houston didn't trail for long, as the ever so reliable Tina Rupert came through as she usually does, taking her court four singles matchup in straight sets over Melissa Matsuoka, 6-3, 6-3, to quickly equalize things at 1-1, while notching her fourth straight victory.
The seesaw battle between the two sides continued, as the Big Green took the point on court five, but once again the Cougars responded, as Maria Cardenas cruised to a 6-3, 6-2 victory over Dartmouth's Jacqueline Crawford to tie things back up at 2-2.
The Cougars then found the spark they needed, as Phillips came up big for the second time on the day, this time from the No. 6 singles position, earning a dominating 6-3, 6-3 win over Sarah Bessen to put UH on the brink of victory.
Fittingly, it was the reigning American Athletic Conference Player of the Week, Elena Kordolaimi who rallied on court two to clinch the match for Houston, defeating Taylor Ng, 0-6, 6-3, 6-3.
The Cougars led 4-2 before the Big Green managed to tack on another point to bring the match to the final of 4-3.
Cougars Claw into Top 25
Houston finds itself in the national rankings for an eighth straight week, as the Cougars are ranked No. 27 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 14 wins this season have come vs. teams currently ranked in this week's national ITA poll.
No. 55 North Texas (W, 5-0)
No. 75 Mississippi State (W, 5-2)
No. 53 Washington State (W, 5-2)
No. 48 Washington (W, 4-3)
No. 21 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...After Sunday the Cougars will have played eight 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. March 1 marked the end of 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. 27) are the highest ranked team in The American, sitting in front of No. 38 Memphis, No. 42 USF and No. 67 Louisville...Houston has now been the highest ranked team in the conference for five 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 4-1 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
March 28 at Dartmouth, No. 2 Elena Kordolaimi def. Taylor Ng 0-6, 6-3, 6-3
Keeping it Clean
The Cougars have kept a clean score sheet on seven separate occasions this season, which is already the most shutouts Houston has collected in a season since Houston also notched seven during the 2007-08 campaign...the Cougars also 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...five of Houston's last seven 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)
March 25 vs. UAB (W, 7-0)
The Comeback Kids
Don't call it a comeback! Well, actually more times than not this season you can, as Houston has notched five come-from-behind victories this season: vs. New Mexico, Washington State, Washington, Tulsa, and Dartmouth.
The Cougars are 4-2 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 10-1 at home this season. The 10 wins are already the most since the Cougars had 10 during the entire 2007-08 campaign...the Cougars have currently won six straight home matches, which is the most since Houston picked up seven consecutive home victories during the 2010-11 season.
The Cougars have won the doubles point in six of the last eight matches...the Cougars have blanked five of their last eight opponents...Houston is 11-0 vs. unranked teams this season...the Cougars have been placed in the national rankings in six consecutive weeks ...Houston hasn't scored less than three points in any home match this season.
Houston (15-3) is off to its best 18-match start since the 2009 spring campaign. The Cougars eventually began that season 17-3.
They All Count the Same
Houston is a combined 21-8 from the No. 5 and No. 6 positions so far in singles play this year, compared to a 24-9 combined record from the No. 1 and No. 2 positions. The Cougars are .600 or better 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 92nd singles player in the nation according to the latest ITA player rankings. On March 11 she was ranked No. 80 in the country, which was the highest any Cougar had 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 six 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 18 singles matchups from the No. 1 spot this season, posting a 15-3 record, while claiming a 19-6 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 12-3 start this spring in singles action, after starting just 5-3 in the fall. She has clinched five of the last 10 match victories for Houston, including two of the last four.
Charlotte the Clutch Clincher
Junior Charlotte Phillips is 16-6 in overall singles action and 8-4 in dual play. Three of her eight 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 31-10 in dual play singles action this season and 53-20 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 71-24 in three seasons overall as a head coach...he currently owns a record of 28-14 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 take a week off before facing one of their toughest challenges of the season, as they'll take on No. 25 DePaul next Sunday at 11:00 a.m. CT out at the Houston Country Club.