May 2, 2014
- Getting to Know Despoina Vogasari
- Getting to Know Elena Kordolaimi
- Getting to Know Tina Rupert and Maria Cardenas
In parts five and six of our "getting to know" series; UHCougars.com sat down with junior Charlotte Phillips and sophomore Rocio Martin.
Phillips and Martin have held down the No. 5 and No. 6 spots this year for the Cougars, as the two have combined to win over 30 singles matches, while they've also teamed up to go 4-6 as a doubles tandem this year.
Phillips has notched a career-high 18 wins this season, with 10 of them coming in dual play, while Martin owns a record of 14-6 on overall action and a 9-5 mark during dual play. The two of them, have clinched a combined seven match victories for Houston.
It's time to meet Charlotte Phillips and Rocio Martin:
UHCougars.com: Both of you have helped lead Houston back to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 1998 and for just the third time in school history. How does it feel knowing you've been a part of one of the greatest teams in the history of the program?
Martin: Obviously this is a first time experience for me and most importantly we have a chance to bounce back from our loss in the conference championship match. We are all excited and we'll practice with just a little more energy this week. I'm so excited and I can't wait to play.
Phillips: This is especially exciting for me because I've been here for three years and we mere able to make history this season. I mean this season has just been so special. I agree with Rocio (Martin), we now get a chance to bounce back from our conference championship loss. To be honest, this entire year has just been amazing because when I first signed here, it wasn't what I expected, but I'm really excited I was able to be a part of this.
UHCougars.com: Coach (Patrick) Sullivan has talked about it so many times this year. He's mentioned this group had a chance to do something really special here, building a program from the ground up. Now that you guys have actually done it, how does it feel?
Martin: That's exactly right. When I came here and talked with coach, he told me he wanted to build a new team and he got me really excited about it. When I came here last year, the team was good, but with the additions of Debbie (Despoina Vogasari), Maria (Cardenas), and Tina (Rupert), that took us to the next level. Now not only can we compete with top-25 teams, but we can beat them.
UHCougars.com: Alright Rocio, tell us what Charlotte likes to do in her free time outside of tennis?
Martin: Oh wow, you're putting me on the spot here. Ok, actually this is easy. She likes to watch a lot of Law and Order. Whenever we room together on road trips, she watches the show for hours. It's amazing.
Phillips: (laughing) She's right. Don't judge me, it's a great show!
UHCougars.com: Alright Charlotte, what does Rocio like to do in her free time outside of tennis?
Phillips: She loves watching her Spanish television shows.
Martin: Yes! I miss them. I also miss listening to Spanish music.
UHCougars.com: What do you both miss most about home?
Martin: My family. Mostly my brother, he's 13 years old. I used to fight a lot with him and now I don't have anyone to fight with, I miss that. I can play fight with Charlotte and I can play flight with any of my teammates but the fights between siblings, I miss those a lot. I also miss my mom's cooking. It's so much better than having to cook for myself.
Phillips: I also miss my family and friends. I come from a big family with a lot of brothers and sisters, so I am used to being babied. Being independent here is tough sometimes.
UHCougars.com: Rocio, you mentioned you miss your mom's cooking. What's been your favorite American dish you've tried here since you've arrived in the United States?
Martin: Ok, so I know it isn't really American food, but there are a lot of good Mexican restaurants around here. I don't really like hamburgers, so I guess that doesn't really make me American yet (laughing). I love IHOP though. We don't have those kinds of big breakfast places in Spain.
UHCougars.com: Charlotte, what's been your biggest transition coming to an American university from the United Kingdom?
Phillips: Honestly for most international students, America is different than any other place in the world. People always say it's the same, but it's not at all. Even though I already spoke English, the English here in the states is so different."
UHCougars.com: What kind of music do you two like to listen to?
Phillips: I like to listen to a little bit of everything. I listen to a lot of English music. I like Indie a lot. Honestly I like a lot of stuff a lot of the girls on the team don't listen to. I really enjoy going to concerts and music festivals too.
Martin: I listen to all types of music, but if I had to pick a single artist it would be Beyonce. Whenever I have to study or write a paper I like listening to her. I absolutely love her voice. I also love listening to Hispanic music, but it seems like Maria (Cardenas) is the only one on this team who agrees with me on that. We Spanish girls make it happen though. We sing and dance whether the team likes it or not. One of these days we will convince the rest to join in.
UHCougars.com: Speaking of Maria, she claims, along with others, that she is the best dancer on the team. Is that true?
Martin: I'd say for now, yes. But let me practice a little, and I'll have her beat. She better watch out.
Phillips: To be fair, I haven't seen Maria's moves yet. I've been trying to get Elena to teach me some Greek dancing. She's got an interesting style.
UHCougars.com: Back to tennis now. What's been your favorite moment of the season so far?
Phillips: Defeating Tulsa is definitely up there. I know most of the girls would choose that match as their favorite moment, but for me I think it was the Washington match. It was our first road trip of the season and I played one of my best matches of the year. Not only that, but they had those video cameras streaming the matches on the Internet, so all of my friends and family got to see me play. Not to mention it was one of our biggest wins of the season, with Tina (Rupert) clinching the match at the end.
Martin: The Tulsa match for sure. I mean it was so dramatic. The people in the stands cheering on Elena (Kordolaimi) were amazing. That win I think made us believe we could compete with the best. Even though I personally lost, I played really well and just tried to be the best teammate possible.
UHCougars.com: Tennis is such an individual sport at times, but it seems like this group is very close, almost like a family. Is that accurate?
Martin: Yes, we are. I mean you feel nervous when you're not out there playing. You want your teammates to win just as bad as you want to win yourself and you want to win for your teammates. They may not be your parents or actual brothers or sisters, but it's definitely a different kind of family.
UHCougars.com: Rocio, you mentioned how nervous you were for Elena during the Tulsa match, but you were in a similar situation where everything came down to your match on court six against New Mexico earlier in the season.
Martin: Oh my goodness. Yes, I still remember that. I my heart was beating so fast and my hands were shaking, I was so nervous! It wasn't my best performance, but when I was feeling down I saw my teammates cheering for me and that made a huge difference. They were the reason I was able to win."
UHCougars.com: What are your goals heading into the NCAA Tournament?
Martin: I've never competed in anything like this before, so I'm just really excited for the entire experience. As long as we play our best, that's all I want. Win or lose, as long as we play well I'll be proud.
Phillips: At the beginning of the season when we were ranked really high, a lot of people probably thought we were a little overrated, but now this is our chance to show people that we're for real. Like I said before, losing in that conference championship match really hurt, so we want to come out and show people who the Houston Cougars really are."
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