UH Battles Rutgers for Spot in Championship Match

April 18, 2014

#1 Houston vs. #5 Rutgers

When Friday, April 19, 2014 | 11:00 a.m. CT
Where • Tampa, Fla.| University of South Florida Varsity Tennis Courts
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Series History

• 2nd all-time meeting between the two schools
• Rutgers leads all-time series 1-0
• Last meeting was March 13, 2013 (L, 4-3)

About Houston

Top Performers
• #95 Despoina Vogasari (24-6, 20-3 Dual)
Elena Kordolaimi (18-5, 13-4 Dual)
Tina Rupert (22-6, 17-3 Dual)

ITA Ranking: #32
Neutral Site Record: 2-0
Current Streak: Won 5
Last Five Matches: 5-0
Season Stats

About Rutgers

Top Performers
• Vanessa Petrini (14-6 Dual)
• Lindsey Kayati (16-4 Dual)
• Gina Li (13-6 Dual)

ITA Ranking: NR
Neutral Site Record: 1-0
Current Streak: Won 8
Last Five Matches: 5-0
Season Stats

Up Next For Houston
April 20 vs. #2 Memphis or #3 USF, Sunday at 9:00 a.m. CT

TAMPA, Fla.--The Cougars prepare to play their second match in as many days, as they'll clash with fifth-seeded Rutgers in the semifinals of the inaugural American Athletic Conference Championship Tournament, Saturday at 11:00 a.m. CT out at the USF Varsity Tennis Courts in Tampa, Florida.

Houston (20-4) blanked eighth-seeded Cincinnati, 4-0, in Friday's quarterfinal to earn its spot in the semifinals, while Rutgers pulled off a 4-2 upset win over No. 4 seed Louisville to punch its ticket into the conference's final four.

For The Cougars, the quarterfinal victory was their first conference tournament win since 2012, while it also locked up the program's first 20-plus win season since 2006, and just the fifth in school history.

Houston enters this matchup as the top seed in the tournament and playing some its best tennis of the season, as it has recorded a school-record four consecutive shutout victories, won a season-high five straight matches, while its claimed victories in nine of its last 10 contests overall.

The Cougars are a more than worthy one seed, and have proved it all season long, as they've rattled off victories in 13 of their last 14 home affairs to end the regular season, while also claiming wins over a school-record five ranked opponents. In addition, Houston has gone 5-3 on the road this season, while it has posted a 2-0 mark at neutral sites this year.

Freshman Despoina Vogasari has led the charge all season long for UH, as she owns a team-best record of 24-6 overall in singles play, while she's gone 20-3 in dual match singles action, as her last win tied her with Kami Miller (20-5 in 2006) 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 are also 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 15 victories for UH.

Meanwhile, Kordolaimi has won eight consecutive matches, while Maria Cardenas (21-10), Rupert (22-6), and Vogasari (24-6) are all members of the 20-plus-win club this season.

Live Coverage
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A Look at the Series...

No. 1 Houston vs. No. 5 Rutgers

Overall Record: 0-1

Home Record: 0-0

Away Record: 0-1

Neutral Site Record: 0-0

Conference Tournament Record: 0-0

Longest Win Streak: N/A

Longest Losing Streak: 1 match

Current Streak: Lost 1

Record in Last 10 Meetings: N/A

First Meeting: March 13, 2013 in Piscataway, N.J. (L, 4-3)

Last Meeting: March 13, 2013 in Piscataway, N.J. (L, 4-3)

The Series Match-by-Match

03/13/13 at Rutgers, L, 4-3

Series Notes: This will be just the second meeting all-time between the two programs met for the first time last season on March 13, 2013 in Piscataway, New Jersey. Rutgers rallied back from 2-0 and 3-1 deficits to stun the Cougars last season. Elena Kordolaimi and Charlotte Phillips both picked up wins in their singles matchups last time these two sides went at it.

Scouting the Scarlet Knights
Rutgers (16-4) enters this one with some momentum, as its now won eight straight matches after claiming an upset 4-2 victory over fourth-seeded Louisville in the quarterfinal round of the American Athletic Conference Championship Tournament. Vanessa Petrini leads the Scarlet Knights, as she boasts a 14-6 dual match singles mark, all from the No. 1 position this season. Lindsey Kayati leads the squad in overall wins, as she boasts a team-best record of 16-4, including owning a 10-3 mark from the No. 3 position this season. Marriam Zein and Lindsay Balsamo represent Rutgers' strongest doubles tandem this year, as they've combined to go 12-8 this season, including a perfect 6-0 from the No. 3 spot.

Common Ground
Houston and Cincinnati have shared three common opponents in conference foes Cincinnati, Connecticut, and Temple. Both teams went a perfect 3-0 against those three schools.

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 and are 1-0 in American Tournament play...Houston will take on No. 5 seed Rutgers, Saturday at 11:00 a.m. CT in the tournament's semifinal round. The Cougars have yet to play Rutgers 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 7:00 a.m. CT      #1 Houston def. #8 Cincinnati; 4-0

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

Match 5 7:00 a.m. CT    #5 Rutgers def. #4 Louisville; 4-2

Match 6 7:00 a.m. CT    #3 USF def. #6 SMU; 4-0

Saturday April 19, 2014

Match 7 11:00 a.m. CT    #1 Houston vs. #5 Rutgers

Match 8 11:00 a.m. CT    #2 Memphis vs. #3 USF

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.

Cougars in Conference Tournaments
Houston is 24-30 all-time in conference tournament affairs, while it is 2-3 in its last five conference tournament matches...before Friday's win over Cincinnati the Cougars had dropped two straight conference tournament matches.

Rinse and Repeat 
Houston went a perfect 3-0 against American Athletic Conference competition this season and are 4-0 counting American Tournament contests...Cougars have outscored conference opponents 17-2 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)
April 18 vs. Cincinnati (W, 4-0)

Punch Your Ticket
Although Houston hopes its regular season resume is good enough to earn them a spot in this season's NCAA Tournament, the Cougars can control their own destiny into postseason play, as the winner of this weekend's conference tournament 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). This year's NCAA team selection show will be on April 29 at 4:30 p.m. CT.

Keeping Streaks Alive
Tina Rupert has won nine consecutive matches, while Elena Kordolaimi has won eight straight...five Cougars have won four or more consecutive matches...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 six consecutive matches, which would be its longest win streak since winning seven straight during the 2010-11 campaign.

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 six 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 Rutgers is unranked.

Milestone Watch
Despoina Vogasari (24-6) already became Houston's first 20-match winner in over six seasons. Her victory on Friday gave her 20 dual match wins this season, which puts 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). Her next win will put her in a tie for fifth on the all-time list.

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 Despoina Vogasari 20-3 (2014)
T9. Susanna Anderson 20-4 (1997)
T9. Kami Miller 20-5 (2006)

Freshmen Rising
Freshmen Despoina Vogasari (20-3 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 one win away from matching the mark, while Rupert is four victories away. If the season were to end today Vogasari (.870) 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 .870 (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. Both Elena Kordolaimi and Charlotte Phillips are just two victories away from reaching the 20-win mark.

Houston's Dynamic Duo
Despoina Vogasari and Elena Kordolaimi have combined to go 33-7 thus far during dual play, primarily from the No. 1 and No. 2 spots...the two have teamed up to go 14-7 as a doubles tandem this season and 13-5 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 showed the rest of the conference why they were awarded the top seed coming into this tournament, as they dismantled eighth-seeded Cincinnati, 4-0, in the quarterfinal round of the inaugural American Athletic Conference Championship Tournament on Friday.

Houston (20-4) will move on to play fifth-seeded Rutgers (16-4) tomorrow at 11:00 a.m. CT in the event's semifinal round, after the Scarlet Knights pulled off a 4-3 upset win over No. 4 seed Louisville earlier in the day.

For the Cougars, the win marks their first conference tournament victory since 2012, while the 20 total wins on the season notches Houston's first 20-plus win season since 2006, and just the program's fifth 20-plus win campaign all-time. UH has now also won five straight matches and shutout out a school-record four consecutive opponents. The five-match win streak is the program's longest since the 2012 spring campaign.

"It was a bit of a slow start in doubles play, but we finished strong and really took care of business efficiently in singles action against a Cincinnati team that competed well," said head coach Patrick Sullivan. "We're looking forward to tomorrow's matchup against Rutgers."

"We were disappointed with last year's result against them up in New Jersey and will be better prepared for them this time around."

The Cougars got it going early, as Maria Cardenas and Tina Rupert notched their ninth win as a doubles tandem this year, defeating Kelly Poggensee-Wei and Caitlin O'Gara 8-4 on court two, before Despoina Vogasari and Elena Kordolaimi clinched the doubles point for UH with an 8-4 victory on their own on court one.

Rocio Martin and Charlotte Phillips also turned in an 8-4 doubles win on court three.

For the second straight match it was Phillips (18-8, 10-6 Dual) who began the scoring in singles action, as she took care of business on court six, defeating Hannah Wille 6-2, 6-0 for her second consecutive victory.

With Houston up 2-0, Cardenas (21-10, 15-7 Dual) was able to put the pressure on, as she took down O'Gara in straight sets, 6-2, 6-1 on court four, to put the Cougars on the brink of victory, up 3-0.

Then it was Vogasari (24-6, 20-3 Dual) who put things away for UH, as she earned a convincing 6-2, 6-3 victory over Poggensee-Wei from the No. 1 spot to clinch the 4-0 victory for the Cougars.

The win puts Vogasari in a tie for ninth place on the school's all-time single-season dual match victories list. She's now just one win away from being tied for fifth on the list, while the next win will also equal the program's all-time freshman dual match victories mark.

Due to tournament rules the match was stopped after Houston clinched the 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 20 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 setting 11 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 now shutout their last four opponents in Texas State, Texas A&M-Corpus Christi, Prairie View A&M, and Cincinnati. The four consecutive shutouts is a new school record, while Houston had never blanked three or more straight opponents two separate times in a season before this year. Below is a list of all the UH shutouts this season...nine of Houston's last 12 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)
April 18 vs. Cincinnati (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 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 2-0 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 nine of the last 12 matches...the Cougars have blanked eight of their last 13 opponents...UH has shutout a school-record four straight schools...the Cougars have won a season-high five straight matches...Houston is 14-0 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 (20-4) is off to its best 24-match start since the 2006 spring campaign when the Cougars also began 20-4. UH ended up finishing 20-5 overall that season. The 20 wins this season marks just the fifth time in school history the Cougars have reached the 20-plus win plateau. 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 29-11 from the No. 5 and No. 6 positions so far in singles play this year, compared to a 34-9 combined record from the No. 1 and No. 2 positions. The Cougars are .684 or better from every position this season.

A Team Effort
Every Cougar that's played a full singles match has 13 or more wins 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 23 singles matchups from the No. 1 spot this season, posting a 20-3 record, while claiming a 24-6 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 15 match victories for Houston, while she's also won a team-leading nine matches.

Charlotte the Clutch Clincher
Junior Charlotte Phillips is 18-8 in overall singles action and 10-6 in dual play. Three of her 10 dual match singles victories this season have been match-clinchers for the Cougars. She's also been the first Cougar to score in each of the last two matches.

Quick Leaners
The three newcomers in sophomore Maria Andrea Cardenas, freshman Despoina Vogasari, and freshman Tina Rupert are a combined 42-12 in dual play singles action this season and 64-22 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 76-25 in three seasons overall as a head coach...he currently owns a record of 33-15 in his second year at Houston...he is 0-1 vs. Rutgers all-time 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
If the Cougars were to win on Saturday, they would play either No. 2 seed Memphis or No. 3 seed USF for the inaugural American Athletic Conference Championship on Sunday at 9:00 a.m. CT out at the USF Varsity Tennis Courts. 



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