April 11, 2014
#27 Houston (17-4) at Texas A&M- Corpus Christi (15-4)
|When||Saturday, April 12, 2014 | 12:00 p.m. CT|
|Where|| Corpus Christi, Texas | Thomas J. Henry Tennis Center|
|Match Coverage||Live Twitter Coverage|
Seventh meeting between the two schools
|About Texas A&M-Corpus Christi||
ITA Ranking: NR
|Up Next For Houston||
April 15 vs. Prairie View A&M
April 17-20 The American Tournament
HOUSTON--With the regular season winding down, the Cougars look to stay hot heading into postseason play, as they'll play at Texas A&M-Corpus Christi, Saturday at noon CT, in what will be the final road match of the season.
The Cougars enter this one in a good spot, as they're currently the favorite to clinch the No. 1 seed in inaugural American Athletic Conference Tournament with just two matches left to play. The highest nationally ranked team at the end of the regular season will determine the top seed in the tournament. Houston is currently ranked 27th, followed by Memphis (38), USF (40), and Louisville (55).
The Cougars (17-4, 3-0 The American) have won 10 of their last 11 matches, including 12 of 13 home affairs this season, while it has collected five wins over nationally ranked teams on the year overall.
Houston's 7-0 victory over Texas State on Tuesday gave the Cougars their school record-tying eighth shutout win of the season, while it also marked their eighth straight home victory and 12th overall (12-1), both the most since the 2005-06 campaign where UH went a perfect 13-0 at home.
Freshman Despoina Vogasari continues to lead the charge for UH, as she owns a team-best record of 22-6 overall in singles play, while she's gone 18-3 in dual match singles action, which leaves her just two dual match victories shy of being tied for ninth on the school's all-time single-season dual match victories list. Her play has also earned her a No. 93 national ranking this season.
Kordolaimi also enters this one as the reigning American Athletic Conference Player of the Week, as she's taken home that honor in two of the last three weeks now.
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A Look at the Series...
Houston vs. Texas A&M- Corpus Christi
Overall Record: 5-1
Home Record: 5-1
Away Record: 0-0
Neutral Site Record: 0-0
Longest Win Streak: 5 matches
Longest Losing Streak: 1 Match
Current Streak: Lost 1
Record in Last 10 Meetings: N/A
First Meeting: Jan. 30, 2000 in Houston, Texas (W, 9-0)
Last Meeting: Jan. 27, 2013 in Houston, Texas (L, 3-4)
The Series Match-by-Match
01/30/00 CORPUS CHRISTI, W, 9-0
04/13/04 CORPUS CHRISTI, W, 6-1
03/12/05 CORPUS CHRISTI, W, 6-1
04/07/06 CORPUS CHRISTI, W, 6-1
02/22/07 CORPUS CHRISTI, W, 6-1
01/27/13 CORPUS CHRISTI, L, 3-4
Series Notes: This will be the seventh all-time meeting between the two sides, as Houston has won five of the six matchups...the Cougars have never played at Texas A&M-Corpus Christi, as all six matchups have been played in Houston, Texas...UH has blanked Texas State once, 9-0, back on Jan. 30, 2000...the Cougars are 0-1 all-time in one-point affairs vs. the Islanders, as they lost a 4-3 contest back on Jan. 27, 2013....UH's 9-0 win also marked its largest margin of victory over the Islanders, while the 4-3 loss represents its only defeat in the all-time series...every other UH victory over Corpus Christi has come by a score of 6-1 (4x).
Scouting the Islanders
Texas A&M-Corpus Christi (15-4) enters this one looking to extend a nine-match win streak dating back to March 17. The Islanders are a perfect 6-0 at home this season. Celia Rodriguez currently leads the Islanders in wins, as she's gone 15-3 so far in dual play, while she's also won eight consecutive matches. Judit Vives has also been impressive, as she sports a 14-1 dual play mark, going a perfect 7-0 from the No. 2 and 3 spots combined. She's also won eight straight matches. Stefania Nicolae represents Corpus Christi's primary No. 1 player, as she's gone 8-8 this spring, all from the No. 1 spot. Celia Rodriguez and Maider Martin lead the Islanders in doubles victories, posting an 11-4 mark during dual play this spring. The Islanders earned their first-ever win over Houston last season when these two squads met.
The two sides have shared some common opponents this season in UTSA, SMU, and Southern Miss. Houston went 3-0 against those three teams, earning a 5-0 win over UTSA, a 5-2 victory at SMU, and a 6-1 win vs. Southern Miss. The Islanders went 1-2 vs. the three teams, dropping a 4-3 decision to Southern Miss, losing a 4-0 contest at UTSA, while earning a 4-3 win at SMU. The Cougars and Islanders also faced off back in September at the Marco & Co. Catering Islanders Open.
Playing for a Ring
The Cougars (No. 27) are the highest ranked team in The American, sitting in front of No. 38 Memphis, No. 40 USF and No. 55 Louisville. The placement means more to the Cougars than just pride, as the highest nationally ranked team in The American will receive the top seed in the upcoming conference postseason tournament (April 17-20)...The Cougars are the only American top seed contender remaining without a ranked matchup left on their schedule...Houston has now been the highest ranked team in the conference for seven straight weeks...the Cougars are currently a perfect 3-0 in conference regular season play. Here's how the chase for the No. 1 seed breaks down:
- No. 27 Houston (2 matches left: at Texas A&M Corpus Christi, PVAMU)
- No. 38 Memphis (1 match left: at No. 20 Tulsa)
- No. 40 USF (1 match left: No. 62 Georgia State)
- No. 55 Louisville (1 match left: No. 72 Marshall)
Rising to the Occasion
Elena Kordolaimi has clinched both of Houston's highest ranked victories this season in No. 31 DePaul on April 6 and No. 17 Tulsa back on March 1...Kordolaimi is also 1-1 vs. ranked individuals this season...she's won 14 of her last 16 sets going back to March 12...she's clinched two of Houston's last three victories and two of UH's one-point wins on the year.
Elena Kordolaimi enters this matchup as the reigning American Athletic Conference Player of the Week. She's won the award in two of the last three weeks.
In the Rankings
Houston enters this one at No. 27 in the nation, while Texas A&M-Corpus Christi is unranked.
Despoina Vogasari (22-6) already became Houston's first 20-match winner in over six seasons. A victory on Saturday will also give her 19 dual match wins this season, which will put her just one win away from moving into ninth place on the school's all-time single-season dual match victories list (Kami Miller, 20-5 in 2006, Susanne Anderson, 20-4 in 1997).
UH All-Time Single-Season Dual Match Victories List
T1. Kathy Foxworth 24-7 (1987)
T1. Kathy Foxworth 24-9 (1986)
T3. Margaret Redfearn 23-8 (1985)
T3. Hae Beck 23-9 (1985)
T5. Kami Miller 21-3 (2005)
T5. Margaret Redfearn 21-5 (1984)
T5. Hae Beck 21-7 (1986)
T5. Stina Almgren 21-9 (1986)
T9. Susanna Anderson 20-4 (1997)
T9. Kami Miller 20-5 (2006)
--- Despoina Vogasari 18-3 (2014)
Freshmen Despoina Vogasari (18-3 Dual) and Tina Rupert (15-3 Dual) each have a shot to break the school's all-time freshman single-season dual match wins record this season. Stina Almgren currently holds the mark, as she went 21-9 during the 1986 season. Vogasari is just three wins away from matching the mark, while Rupert is six victories away. If the season were to end today Vogasari (.857) would be ranked third on the school's all-time single-season dual match win percentage list, while Rupert would be tied for fifth (.833). Kami Miller currently holds the top spot, winning 87.5 percent of her dual matches in 2005...
UH All-Time Single-Season Dual Match Win Percentage List*
1. Kami Miller .875 (2005)
2. Caroline Bhaguandas .864 (1990)
3. Despoina Vogasari .857 (2014)
4. Vicky Simpson .850 (2009)
5. Joy Tacon .842 (1982)
T6. Tina Rupert .833 (2014)
T6. Susanna Anderson .833 (1997)
8. Jo Keene .826 (2002)
T9. Maja Kazimieruk .818 (2013)
T9. Jane Brown .818 (1997)
11. Sarah Borwell .813 (2002)
12. Margaret Redfearn .808. (1984)
*If season were to end today
Welcome to the Club
Tina Rupert's win on Wednesday vs. Texas State not only marked her team-leading equaling seventh consecutive victory, but she also joined fellow freshman Despoina Vogasari as a member of the 20-plus win club this season. Rupert is currently 20-6 overall this season and 15-3 in dual play, while she's also won 14 of her last 15 sets going back to March 12. Before this season, no Cougar had reached the 20-win plateau in over six seasons.
Houston's Dynamic Duo
Despoina Vogasari and Elena Kordolaimi have combined to go 30-7 thus far during dual play, primarily from the No. 1 and No. 2 spots...the two have teamed up to go 13-7 as a doubles tandem this season and 12-5 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
The Cougars earned their school record-equaling eighth shutout win of the season, as they cruised past Texas State, 7-0, last Wednesday afternoon out at the John E. Hoff Tennis Courts.
For Houston (17-4), the win marks its eighth straight home victory and 12th home win overall (12-1), which are both the most since the 2005-06 season. Six of the Cougars' last nine victories have now been shutouts, as the next blanking of an opponent will be the new school record for shutouts in a single season.
Houston was in control from the very beginning, as Despoina Vogasari and Elena Kordolaimi teamed up to earn an 8-2 doubles victory on court one, before Maria Cardenas and Tina Rupert followed that up with an even more convincing 8-1 win on court two, claiming the doubles point for the Cougars.
With Houston already up 1-0, Cardenas easily took care of Texas State's Shannon Beckett from the No. 5 spot, defeating her in straight sets, 6-2, 6-0.
Then the always-reliable Rupert put the Cougars up 3-0, as she earned a convincing 6-2, 6-2 win over Ana Laura Gutierrez from the No. 2 spot. The win also marked her team-leading tying seventh consecutive victory.
Rocio Martin quickly followed suit, as she clinched the match for Houston with a 6-2, 6-2 victory from the No. 5 spot.
Celia Fraser then added on, defeating Eva Dench, 7-5, 6-2 from the No. 4 position, before Kordolaimi notched her seventh straight win from the No. 2 spot, taking down Monica Pieratt, 6-4, 6-2 to make it a 6-0 Houston advantage.
Then it was Vogasari who completed the shutout attempt for the Cougars, as she upended Jessica Kahts, 7-5, 6-3 from the No. 1 position.
Cougars Clawing Towards the Top
Houston finds itself in the national rankings for a ninth 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. Here's a look at Houston's ranking week-by-week:
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 17 wins this season have come vs. teams currently ranked in this week's national ITA poll.
No. 67 North Texas (W, 5-0)
No. 47 Washington State (W, 5-2)
No. 48 Washington (W, 4-3)
No. 20 Tulsa (W, 4-3)
No. 39 DePaul (W, 4-2)
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 5-4 record vs. ranked teams so far this year...the Cougars have played nine ranked opponents this season, which is the most since the 2003-04 campaign, while the five 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 5-4 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.
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 4-2 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 eight separate occasions this season, which equals the school record for shutouts recorded in a season, as Houston also notched eight 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 the UH shutouts this season...six of Houston's last nine 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)
April 9 vs. Texas State (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 4-3 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. The Cougars aim to snap the Islanders' perfect 6-0 home mark on Saturday.
Protecting the Home Courts
Houston is 12-1 at home this season. The 12 wins are already the most since the Cougars had 13 during the entire 2005-06 campaign...the Cougars have currently won eight straight home matches, which is the most since Houston went a perfect 13-0 at home during the 2005-06 season.
The Cougars have won the doubles point in seven of the last 10 matches...the Cougars have blanked six of their last 11 opponents...Houston is 12-0 vs. unranked teams this season...the Cougars have been placed in the national rankings in nine consecutive weeks ...Houston hasn't scored less than three points in any home match this season...Elena Kordolaimi and Tina Rupert have each won seven straight matches.
Houston (17-4) is off to its best 21-match start since the 2009 spring campaign when the Cougars began 18-3. The school record for wins in a season is 23 back during the 1989-90 season. The Cougars went 23-3 that season.
An American Honor
The Cougars have claimed a conference-leading equaling five American Player of the Week awards so far this season...the five awards is also a school record for most conference weekly honors in one season...Despoina Vogasari has won it three times, while Elena Kordolaimi has won the award twice.
01/21: Marta Morga- Memphis
01/28: Anki Wind- Memphis
02/04: Stefanie Mikesz- Memphis
02/11: Caroline Wegner- Memphis
02/18: Despoina Vogasari- Houston
02/25: Despoina Vogasari- Houston
03/04: Loreto Alonso-Martinez- USF
03/11: Despoina Vogasari- Houston
03/18: Loreto Alonso-Martinez- USF
03/25: Elena Kordolaimi- Houston
04/01: Marta Morga- Memphis
04/08- Elena Kordolaimi- Houston
They All Count the Same
Houston is a combined 24-11 from the No. 5 and No. 6 positions so far in singles play this year, compared to a 30-9 combined record from the No. 1 and No. 2 positions. The Cougars are .611 or better from every position this season.
A Team Effort
Seven of eight Cougars have 12 or more wins in singles action this season, while every player is .500 or better.
One of the Best
Despoina Vogasari is currently ranked as the 93rd 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 times this season. 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 21 singles matchups from the No. 1 spot this season, posting a 18-3 record, while claiming a 22-6 record in overall singles action this season. Vogasari is 4-2 vs. nationally ranked opponents this year.
Can't Run With Rupert
Freshman Tina Rupert has gotten off to a dominating 15-3 start this spring in singles action, after starting just 5-3 in the fall. She has clinched five of the last 12 match victories for Houston, while she's also won seven straight matches.
Charlotte the Clutch Clincher
Junior Charlotte Phillips is 16-8 in overall singles action and 8-6 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 38-12 in dual play singles action this season and 60-22 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 73-25 in three seasons overall as a head coach...he currently owns a record of 30-15 in his second year at Houston...he is 0-1 vs. Texas A&M-Corpus Christi while 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 play their final match of the regular season, next Tuesday at 3:00 p.m. CT out at the John E. Hoff Tennis Courts. Before the match, seniors Celia Fraser and Dionne Sanders will be recognized for their hard work and dedication as a part of the "senior day" festivities