Houston Begins Championship Journey with Cincinnati

#1 Houston vs. #8 Cincinnati

When Friday, April 18, 2014 | 8:00 a.m. CT
Where • Tampa, Fla.| University of South Florida Varsity Tennis Courts
Match Coverage Live Twitter Coverage
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American Championship Central
2014 American Tournament Bracket
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Series History

• Fifth all-time meeting between the two schools
• UH leads all-time series 3-1
• UH is 2-1 all-time in postseason matchups
• UH is 2-1 all-time in neutral site matchups
• Last meeting was April. 21, 2005 (W, 6-1)

About Houston

Top Performers
• #95 Despoina Vogasari (23-6, 19-3 Dual)
Elena Kordolaimi (18-5, 13-4 Dual)
Tina Rupert (22-6, 17-3 Dual)

ITA Ranking: #32
Neutral Site Record: 1-0
Current Streak: Won 4
Last Five Matches: 4-1
Season Stats

About Cincinnati

Top Performers
• Kelly Poggensee-Wei (12-9 Dual)
• Ashleigh Witte (15-8 Dual)
• Caitlin O'Gara (11-11 Dual)

ITA Ranking: NR
Neutral Site Record: 4-0
Current Streak: Won 1
Last Five Matches: 2-3
Season Stats

Up Next For Houston
April 19 vs. No. 4 Louisville/ No. 5 Rutgers, 11:00 a.m. CT

April 17, 2014

HOUSTON--The Houston Cougars head to Tampa, Florida to begin their quest for their first-ever American Athletic Conference Tournament Championship, as they'll take on eighth-seeded Cincinnati, Friday at 8:00 a.m. CT out at the Varsity Tennis Courts on the campus of the University of South Florida.

The Cougars enter the tournament as the favorite claim the conference's first championship, as their No. 32 national ranking was good enough to earn them the top seed in the event.

After earning a first round bye, Houston comes in well rested and playing some its best tennis of the season, as it has recorded three consecutive shutout victories, won a season-high equaling four straight matches, while its claimed victories in eight of its last nine contests overall.

The Cougars are a more than worthy top seed, and have proved it all season long, as they've won 13 of their last 14 home affairs, while claiming victories over a school-record five ranked opponents this season. In addition, Houston has gone 5-3 on the road this year, while it has posted a 1-0 mark at neutral sites this season, as it earned a 4-0 win over Louisiana Tech back on March 21.

Freshman Despoina Vogasari has led the charge all season long for UH, as she owns a team-best record of 23-6 overall in singles play, while she's gone 19-3 in dual match singles action, which leaves her just one dual match victory 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. 95 national ranking this season.

Tina Rupert and Elena Kordolaimi also enter postseason play as hot as can be, as Rupert has won a team-best nine straight singles matches, while she has also clinched six of the last 14 victories for UH.

Meanwhile, Kordolaimi has won eight consecutive matches, while Maria Cardenas (20-10), Rupert (22-6), and Vogasari (23-6) are all members of the 20-plus-win club this season.

Live Coverage
Follow at @UHCougarTennis and @American_Champs for live Twitter updates throughout the American Athletic Conference Tournament.

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A Look at the Series...

No. 1 Houston vs. No. 8 Cincinnati

Overall Record: 3-1

Home Record: 1-0

Away Record: 0-0

Neutral Site Record: 2-1

Conference Tournament Record: 2-1

Longest Win Streak: 2 matches

Longest Losing Streak: 1 match

Current Streak: Won 1

Record in Last 10 Meetings: N/A

First Meeting: April 22, 2001 in Hattiesburg, Miss. (W, 4-0)

Last Meeting: April. 21, 2005 in Fort Worth, Texas (W, 6-1)

The Series Match-by-Match

04/22/01 vs. Cincinnati, W, 4-0

02/10/02 CINCINNATI, W, 4-3

04/21/02 vs. Cincinnati, L, 2-4

04/21/05 vs. Cincinnati, W, 4-0

Series Notes: This will be just the fifth meeting all-time between the two sides, and the first since 2005...Houston has gone 3-1 all-time vs. the Bearcats, while three of the four contests have been neutral site conference tournament affairs...UH has gone 2-1 in those, as the two schools used to play in Conference USA together....two of UH's all-time wins have been 4-0 shutouts, while the two bagels also mark Houston's largest margin of victory over Cincinnati...the Cougars' largest margin of defeat came in their lone 4-2 loss back on April 21, 2002...Houston has outscored Cincinnati 14-7 in the all-time series.

Scouting the Bearcats
Cincinnati (10-13, 1-2 The American) enters this one with some momentum after earning a convincing 4-1 victory over ninth-seeded UConn in the opening round of the American Athletic Conference Tournament on Thursday, snapping what was a three-match losing streak coming in. However, the Bearcats are 4-0 in neutral court affairs this year. Sophomore Kelly Poggensee-Wei leads Cincinnati with a record of 12-9 this season, all from the No. 1 spot. Senior Ashlegih Witte leads the team in singles victories with 15, as she's gone 15-8 this season in dual play, while she's posted a 12-7 mark from the No. 2 spot. Caitlin O'Gara and Kelly Poggensee-Wei represent Cincinnati's most successful doubles tandem this year, as they've posted a team-best mark of 15-8 this season, all from the No. 1 position.  

Common Ground
Houston and Cincinnati have shared two common opponents this season in DePaul and Connecticut. Houston has gone 2-0 against those two squads, posting a 4-0 win over Connecticut back on March 8 and a 4-2 victory over DePaul back on April 6. Meanwhile, Cincinnati went 1-1 vs. the two schools, posting a 6-1 victory at UConn back on Feb. 28, but dropping a 6-1 decision at DePaul on April 13.

Follow the Leader
The Cougars (No. 32) enter this weekend as the highest ranked team in The American according to the latest ITA poll, making Houston the No. 1 seed in the inaugural American Athletic Conference Championship Tournament...the Cougars are one of four ranked American teams in this week's poll, sitting in front of No. 39 Memphis, No. 41 USF and No. 56 Louisville. Those same three teams fill out the No. 2, 3, and 4 seeds respectively...Houston has now been the highest ranked team in the conference for eight straight weeks...the Cougars posted a perfect 3-0 mark in conference regular season play...Houston will take on No. 8 seed Cincinnati, Friday at 8:00 a.m. CT in the tournament's quarterfinal round. The Cougars have yet to play Cincinnati this season. Below is a look at the full tournament schedule:

Thursday April 17, 2014

Match 1 8:00 a.m. CT    #8 Cincinnati def. #9 UConn; 4-1

Match 2 9:00 a.m. CT    #10 UCF def. #7 Temple; 4-1

Friday April 18, 2014

Match 3 8:00 a.m. CT      #1 Houston vs. #8 Cincinnati

Match 4 8:00 a.m. CT      #2 Memphis vs. #10 UCF

Match 5 11:00 a.m. CT    #4 Louisville vs. #5 Rutgers

Match 6 11:00 a.m. CT    #6 SMU vs. #3 USF

Saturday April 19, 2014

Match 7 11:00 a.m. CT    Winner of Match 3 vs. Winner of Match 5

Match 8 11:00 a.m. CT    Winner of Match 4 vs. Winner of Match 6

Sunday April 20, 2014

Match 9 9:00 a.m. CT    Winner of Match 7 vs. Winner of Match 8

It's Tourney Time!
Click below to hear from head coach Patrick Sullivan, senior Celia Fraser, and freshman Tina Rupert as they break down Houston's season to this point and preview this weekend's inaugural American Athletic Conference Tournament.

Rinse and Repeat 
Houston went a perfect 3-0 against American Athletic Conference competition this season...Cougars outscored conference opponents 13-2 this season. Here's how it breaks down:

March 5 vs. Temple (W, 4-0)
March 8 vs. UConn (W, 4-0)
March 22 at SMU (W, 5-2)

They're Due
Houston is just 1-4 in its last five opening round conference tournament matches. 

Punch Your Ticket
Although Houston hopes its regular season resume is good enough to earn them a spot in this season's NCAA Tournament, but regardless if Cougars win this weekend's conference tournament the regular season won't even matter, as the tournament's winner will secure an automatic bid for the postseason. The Cougars haven't qualified the NCAA Tournament since 1998. If they were to make it this year, it would be just the third postseason berth in school history (1997 the only other season).

Keeping Streaks Alive
Tina Rupert has won nine consecutive matches, while Elena Kordolaimi has won eight straight...the Cougars closed the regular season winning nine straight home matches, which were the most since the 2005-06 campaign...UH has won four straight matches overall.

Oh What a Win Would Do
A win on Friday would extend Houston's win streak to five consecutive matches, which would be its longest win streak since also winning five straight during the 2011-12 campaign...The Cougars have won four matches in a row on three separate occasions this year.

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 17 of her last 19 sets going back to March 12...she's clinched two of Houston's last five victories and two of UH's one-point wins on the year.

In the Rankings
Houston enters this one at No. 32 in the nation, while Cincinnati is unranked.

Milestone Watch
Despoina Vogasari (23-6) already became Houston's first 20-match winner in over six seasons. A victory on Friday will also give her 20 dual match wins this season, which will put her in a tie for 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 19-3 (2014)

Freshmen Rising
Freshmen Despoina Vogasari (19-3 Dual) and Tina Rupert (17-3 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 two wins away from matching the mark, while Rupert is four victories away. If the season were to end today Vogasari (.864) would be tied for second on the school's all-time single-season dual match win percentage list, while Rupert would be tied for fourth (.850). 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)
T2. Despoina Vogasari .864 (2014)
T2. Caroline Bhaguandas .864 (1990)
T4. Tina Rupert .850 (2014)
T4. Vicky Simpson .850 (2009)
6. Joy Tacon .842 (1982)
7. 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 Maria
Maria Cardenas' win last Tuesday vs. Prairie View A&M marked her 20th win of the season, she now joins freshman teammates Despoina Vogasari and Tina Rupert as a member of the 20-plus win club this season. Before this year, no Cougar had reached the 20-win plateau in over six seasons and now Houston has three in 2013-14.

Houston's Dynamic Duo
Despoina Vogasari and Elena Kordolaimi have combined to go 32-7 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.

A Couple of Firsts
Last Tuesday vs. Prairie View A&M Elena Kordolaimi played at the No. 1 spot for this first time this season, while Tina Rupert played at the No. 2 spot for the first time in her college career. Both were victorious in their matches, while Kordolaimi improves to 13-10 all-time from the No. 1 position as a Houston Cougar.

Last time out for the Cougars
The Cougars finished off the season just how they wanted to last Tuesday, as they earned a convincing 7-0 victory over Prairie View A&M on senior day, out at the John E. Hoff Tennis Courts to claim their season-high equaling fourth consecutive win.

For Houston (19-4), the win notches its 19th victory of the season, which is already the most wins since the Cougars claimed 20 victories during the 2006 campaign. The win also marks the squad's third straight shutout victory and its school-record 10th shutout win of the year.

Fittingly, it was senior Dionne Sanders who helped the Cougars claim their first victory of the afternoon, as she teamed up with Elena Kordolaimi to secure an 8-2 doubles victory on court three. Then it was Maria Cardenas and Tina Rupert who managed to pull off an 8-0 shutout victory on court one to clinch the doubles point for Houston.

Junior Charlotte Phillips quickly set the tone in singles play, racing her way to a 6-0, 6-0 victory over PVAMU's Paris Cunningham to put the Cougars up 2-0.

Cardenas then followed her lead; as she snatched a 6-0, 6-0 win from the No. 4 spot over Maria Lackey to put Houston on the brink of victory, up 3-0.

Not to be outdone, Rocio Martin quickly came through with Houston's third straight singles blanking; as she earned a 6-0, 6-0 win over Payton Gore on court five to clinch the match for the Cougars.

Senior Celia Fraser then pushed across her final home victory of her career, defeating Sydney Thomas, 6-0, 6-1 to extend the UH advantage to 5-0.

Then the always-reliable Tina Rupert notched her team-leading ninth straight victory in her first college start at the No. 2 spot, defeating Donielle Richard 6-0, 6-0 to push things up to 6-0.

Last but not least, Elena Kordolaimi sealed the deal with a 6-3, 6-1 win over Taylor LeFridge., marking her seventh straight singles victory.

Cougars Clawing Towards the Top
Houston finds itself in the national rankings for a 10th straight week, as the Cougars are ranked No. 32 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:

Preseason: NR
1/02: NR
1/21: NR
1/29: NR
2/04: NR
2/11: T-66
2/18: 64
2/25: 30
3/04: 21
3/11: 23
3/18: 24
3/25: 27
4/01: 33
4/08: 27
4/15: 32

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 19 wins this season have come vs. teams currently ranked in this week's national ITA poll.

No. 64 North Texas (W, 5-0)

No. 45 Washington State (W, 5-2)

No. 35 Washington (W, 4-3)

No. 19 Tulsa (W, 4-3)
No. 40 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.

Battle Tested
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.

Clutch Cougars
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 a school-record breaking 10 separate occasions this season...Last Saturday's win at Texas A&M-Corpus Christi also marked UH's first road shutout victory since March 12, 2013 at Manhattan. The previous school-best mark was eight shutouts back in 2007-08...the Cougars also managed to shutout three straight opponents from March 5 to March 8, in Temple, UConn, and Tyler Junior College, while they've also shutout their last three opponents in Texas State, Texas A&M-Corpus Christi, and Prairie View A&M. The three consecutive shutouts marked the first time UH had blanked three or more straight opponents since the 2003-04 season, while Houston had never blanked three straight opponents two separate times in a season before this year. Below is a list of all the UH shutouts this season...eight of Houston's last 11 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)
April 12 at Texas A&M-Corpus Christi (W, 4-0)
April 15 vs. Prairie View A&M (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.

Road Warriors
The Cougars are 5-3 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 also snapped Texas A&M-Corpus Christi's perfect 6-0 home record last Saturday.

Protecting the Home Courts
Houston is 13-1 at home this season. The 13 wins are already the most since the Cougars had 13 during the 2005-06 campaign...the Cougars have currently won nine straight home matches, which is the most since Houston went a perfect 13-0 at home during the 2005-06 season.

What's Trending

The Cougars have won the doubles point in eight of the last 11 matches...the Cougars have blanked seven of their last 12 opponents...UH has shutout three straight schools...the Cougars have won a season-high tying four straight matches...Houston is 13-0 vs. unranked teams this season...the Cougars have been placed in the national rankings in 10 consecutive weeks...Houston hasn't scored less than three points in any home match this season...Tina Rupert has won nine consecutive matches, while Elena Kordolaimi has won eight straight matches.

Houston (19-4) is off to its best 23-match start since the 2006 spring campaign when the Cougars also began 19-4. UH ended up finishing 20-5 overall that season. 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. Vogasari's three awards won lead the conference.

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
04/15: Rebecca Shine- Louisville

They All Count the Same
Houston is a combined 28-11 from the No. 5 and No. 6 positions so far in singles play this year, compared to a 33-9 combined record from the No. 1 and No. 2 positions. The Cougars are .684 or better from every position this season.

A Team Effort
Seven of eight Cougars have 13 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 95th 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 has been ranked for six straight weeks.

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, while the three nominations leads the conference this season.

Yeah, She's No. 1

Freshman Despoina Vogasari has played each of her 22 singles matchups from the No. 1 spot this season, posting a 19-3 record, while claiming a 23-6 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 17-3 start this spring in singles action, after starting just 5-3 in the fall. She has clinched six of the last 14 match victories for Houston, while she's also won a team-leading nine matches.

Charlotte the Clutch Clincher
Junior Charlotte Phillips is 17-8 in overall singles action and 9-6 in dual play. Three of her nine 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 40-12 in dual play singles action this season and 62-22 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 75-25 in three seasons overall as a head coach...he currently owns a record of 32-15 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
If the Cougars were to win on Friday, they would play either No. 4 Louisville or fifth-seeded Rutgers, Saturday at 11:00 a.m. CT in the tournament's semifinal round in Tampa, Florida. 



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