April 19, 2014
#1 Houston vs. #3 USF
|When||Sunday, April 20, 2014 | 9:00 a.m. CT|
|Where|| Tampa, Fla.| University of South Florida Varsity Tennis Courts|
|Match Coverage|| Live Twitter Coverage
Live American Twitter Coverage
American Championship Central
2014 American Tournament Bracket
8th all-time meeting between the two schools
|Up Next For Houston||
April 29 NCAA Tournament Selection Show, 4:30 p.m. CT
TAMPA, Fla.-- For the top-seeded Houston Cougars, the 2014 spring season boils down to this, as they'll take on the three-seeded USF Bulls in the inaugural American Athletic Conference Championship match, Sunday at 9:00 a.m. CT out at the USF Varsity Tennis Courts.
Houston (21-4) notched 4-0 victories over Cincinnati and Rutgers in the quarter and semifinals to make it this point, while the Bulls (16-3) topped SMU (4-0) and second-seeded Memphis (4-2) to punch their ticket into the title match.
Both the Cougars and Bulls are as hot as can be coming into this one, as Houston has won a season-high six straight matches, while USF has notched 14 victories in a row.
The Cougars are playing some of their best tennis of the season, as they have recorded a school-record five consecutive shutout victories, scoring 28 unanswered points during that span, while its claimed victories in 10 of its last 11 contests overall.
Houston is a more than worthy one seed, and has proved it all season long, as it rattled off victories in 13 of its last 14 home affairs to end the regular season, while also claiming wins over a school-record five ranked opponents. In addition, the Cougars have gone 5-3 on the road this season, while they've posted a 3-0 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 25-6 overall in singles play, while she's gone 21-3 in dual match singles action, as her last win tied her with Stina Almgren (21-9 in 1986) for the most dual match victories by a freshman in program history, while she now ranks tied for fifth on the school's overall all-time single-season dual match victories list. Her play has also earned her a No. 95 national ranking this season.
Meanwhile, Kordolaimi has won nine consecutive matches, while Maria Cardenas (21-10), Rupert (23-6), and Vogasari (25-6) are all members of the 20-plus-win club this season.
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. 3 USF
Overall Record: 3-4
Home Record: 0-0
Away Record: 0-3
Neutral Site Record: 3-1
Conference Tournament Record: 1-1
Longest Win Streak: 2 matches
Longest Losing Streak: 2 matches
Current Streak: Lost 1
Record in Last 10 Meetings: N/A
First Meeting: March 16, 1979 in Tampa, Fla. (L, 9-0)
Last Meeting: April 24, 2005 in Fort Worth, Texas (L, 4-3)
The Series Match-by-Match
03/16/79 at USF, L, 0-9
02/25/88 vs. USF, W, 6-3
02/24/90 vs. USF, W, 6-3
03/17/00 at USF, L, 3-6
03/04/03 at USF L, 3-4
04/13/03 vs. USF, W, 4-0
04/24/05 vs. No. 51 USF, L, 3-4
Series Notes: This will be the eighth all-time meeting between the two programs and the first since 2005...Houston is 0-3 all-time when playing the Bulls in Tampa, but are 1-1 all-time vs. USF in conference tournament action...the Cougars are 0-1 vs. ranked USF squads, as they fell 4-3 to a No. 51 USF team last time these two schools met...this will be the highest ranked Bulls squad the Cougars have ever face, as USF is ranked No. 41 entering this matchup...Houston's largest margin of victory vs. USF was a 4-0 win on April 13, 2003...the Cougars' largest margin of defeat was a 9-0 loss on March 16, 1979.
Scouting the USF Bulls
USF (16-3) enters this one with some momentum, as it has now won 14 straight matches after claiming an upset 4-2 victory over second-seeded Memphis in the semifinal round of the American Athletic Conference Championship Tournament. USF is 4-3 against ranked opponents this season. Senior Loreta Alonso leads the Bulls with a 14-3 record during dual match play, while she's also placed as the No. 79 singles player in the country. USF boasts three double-digit dual match winners overall in Alonso, Vera Bessonova (11-5), and Olgoa Martinez (13-1).
Houston and USF have shared one common opponent this season in conference foe SMU. Houston won a 5-2 match at SMU back on March 22, while USF defeated SMU twice this season. The Bulls picked up a 6-1 win over the Mustangs back on March 12 and won a 4-0 contest in the American Athletic Conference quarterfinals on Friday.
Follow the Leader
The Cougars (No. 32) entered 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 2-0 in American Tournament play...Houston will take on No. 3 seed USF, Sunday at 9:00 a.m. CT in the tournament's championship match. The Cougars have yet to play USF 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 def. #5 Rutgers; 4-0
Match 8 11:00 a.m. CT #3 USF def. #2 Memphis; 4-2
Sunday April 20, 2014
Match 9 9:00 a.m. CT #1 Houston vs. #3 USF
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 25-30 all-time in conference tournament affairs, while it is just 3-6 in its last nine conference tournament matches...Houston has not won a conference tournament championship since 1998, which is also the last time the Cougars qualified for the NCAA Tournament.
Rinse and Repeat
Houston went a perfect 3-0 against American Athletic Conference competition this season and are 5-0 counting American Tournament contests...Cougars have outscored conference opponents 21-2 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)
April 19 vs. Rutgers (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 field, but regardless the Cougars can control their own destiny into postseason play, as the winner of this weekend's conference tournament will secure an automatic bid into 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 10 consecutive matches, while Elena Kordolaimi has won nine 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 a season-high six straight matches overall.
Oh What a Win Would Do
A win on Sunday would extend Houston's win streak to seven consecutive matches, which would be its longest win streak since also winning seven straight during the 2010-11 campaign...win would also notch UH's sixth ranked victory on the season and clinch the school's first NCAA Tournament berth and conference title since 1998.
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 19 of her last 21 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 USF is placed at No. 41.
Despoina Vogasari (25-6) already became Houston's first 20-match winner in over six seasons. Her victory on Saturday gave her 21 dual match wins this season, which puts her in a tie for fifth place on the school's all-time single-season dual match victories list. She is two wins away from being tied for third on the 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 Despoina Vogasari 21-3 (2014)
T5. Kami Miller 21-3 (2005)
T5. Margaret Redfearn 21-5 (1984)
T5. Hae Beck 21-7 (1986)
T5. Stina Almgren 21-9 (1986)
T10. Susanna Anderson 20-4 (1997)
T10. Kami Miller 20-5 (2006)
Freshmen Despoina Vogasari's (21-3 Dual) win on Friday gave her a share of UH's all-time freshman dual match victories record, as she's tied with Stina Almgren (21-9 in 1986) for the all-time lead. Her next win this season will put her in sole possession of the record.
If the season were to end today Vogasari (.875) would be tied with Kami Miller (.875 in 2005) for school's all-time highest single-season dual match win percentage, while Rupert would be tied for fourth on the list (.857).
UH All-Time Single-Season Dual Match Win Percentage List*
T1. Despoina Vogasari .875 (2014)
T1. Kami Miller .875 (2005)
T3. Caroline Bhaguandas .864 (1990)
4. Tina Rupert .857 (2014)
5. 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. Elena Kordolaimi (19-5) is just one victory away, while Charlotte Phillips (18-8) is two wins away from reaching the 20-win mark.
Houston's Dynamic Duo
Despoina Vogasari and Elena Kordolaimi have combined to go 35-7 thus far during dual play, primarily from the No. 1 and No. 2 spots...the two have teamed up to go 15-7 as a doubles tandem this season and 14-5 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 earned their school-record fifth straight shutout victory and sixth consecutive win overall, as they took down fifth-seeded Rutgers, 4-0, in the American Athletic Conference Tournament semifinals, Saturday afternoon out at the USF Varsity Tennis Courts.
For Houston (21-4), the win puts it just two wins shy of matching the school record for wins in a season, as the Cougars went 23-3 during the 1989-90 campaign. The Cougars also improved to a perfect 5-0 against conference foes this season, while most importantly securing their spot in Sunday's inaugural American Athletic Conference Championship match.
Top seeded Houston will take on three-seeded USF in Sunday's championship affair, after the Bulls recorded a 4-2 upset victory over second-seeded Memphis on Friday.
"This was one of our most focused performances of the year," said head coach Patrick Sullivan. "We played with a great sense of purpose today and the results showed it."
"Tomorrow is a big opportunity for us and we're looking forward to a battle against a very worthy opponent in USF."
As it was in the quarterfinal round against Cincinnati, the result was never in doubt in this one, as Despoina Vogasari and Elena Kordolaimi set the tone early, claiming a convincing 8-1 doubles win over Vanessa Petrini and Lindsey Kayati on court one.
Moments later, Maria Cardenas and Tina Rupert teamed up to clinch their 10th doubles win of the season, as the tandem defeated Lindsay Balsamo and Mariam Zein, 8-3, on court two to secure the doubles point for Houston.
Already up 1-0, the Cougars' top line took care of business, as Vogasari (25-6, 21-3 Dual) came through first from the No. 1 position, earning a 6-0, 6-1 straight set victory over Pertrini to put UH on top 2-0.
Vogasari's win also put her in a tie with Stina Almgren (21-9 in 1986) for the program's all-time freshman dual match victories record, while it also moved her up to fifth on UH's overall all-time single-season dual match wins list.
Then Kordolaimi (19-5, 14-4 Dual) kept the train rolling for the Cougars, as she secured a dominating 6-0, 6-1 victory from the No. 2 spot, notching her ninth consecutive victory and sporting Houston a commanding 3-0 lead.
Rupert (23-6, 18-3 Dual) quickly followed suit, easily defeating Lindsey Kayati, 6-0, 6-1 to clinch the match for the Cougars, as she notched her team-leading 10th straight win. The freshman has now clinched seven of the last 16 victories for UH.
Due to tournament rules, play was stopped after Houston clinched the match.
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:
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 21 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.
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 a school-record setting 12 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 five opponents in Texas State, Texas A&M-Corpus Christi, Prairie View A&M, Cincinnati, and Rutgers. The five consecutive shutouts is a 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...10 of Houston's last 13 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)
April 19 vs. Rutgers (W, 4-0)
More on the Bagels
Houston has scored 28 unanswered points against opponents going back to the end of its April 6 match against then-ranked No. 31 DePaul. The Cougars have blanked each of their last five opponents.
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 5-3 on the road so far this season and 3-0 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 back on April 12. USF is a perfect 11-0 at home this season.
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.
The Cougars have won the doubles point in 10 of the last 13 matches...the Cougars have blanked nine of their last 14 opponents...UH has shutout a school-record five straight schools...the Cougars have won a season-high six straight matches...Houston is 15-0 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 10 consecutive matches, while Elena Kordolaimi has won nine straight matches.
Houston is off to a 21-4 start this season. The school record for wins in a season is 23 back during the 1989-90 season. The Cougars went 23-3 that season. 20 wins this season marks just the fifth time in school history the Cougars have reached the 20-plus win plateau and the first time since 2006.
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 36-9 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 24 singles matchups from the No. 1 spot this season, posting a 21-3 record, while claiming a 25-6 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 18-3 start this spring in singles action, after starting just 5-3 in the fall. She has clinched seven of the last 16 match victories for Houston, while she's also won a team-leading 10 straight 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 two of the last three matches.
The three newcomers in sophomore Maria Andrea Cardenas, freshman Despoina Vogasari, and freshman Tina Rupert are a combined 44-12 in dual play singles action this season and 66-22 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 77-25 in three seasons overall as a head coach...he currently owns a record of 34-15 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
The Cougars will learn where and who they'll be playing in the upcoming NCAA Tournament on Tuesday, April 29 at 4:30 p.m. CT during the NCAA Tournament Selection Show. The 30-minute program will be streamed live on NCAA.com