"I am very excited to have Maria join our team this August. She is known for being both an extremely hard worker and a very tough competitor and is a great pickup for a team very much wanting to improve in both of those areas. At Houston she will have an opportunity to play immediately in the middle to top of our lineup, and I don't think it's any sort of stretch to say that she will be one of the top players in our conference as soon as next season."
ABOUT MARIA ANDREA CARDENAS
Venezuela native who spent her freshman season at Auburn... expected to contribute immediately to middle to top of the lineup.
PRIOR TO HOUSTON
Saw limited playing time as a freshman at Auburn last season but made the most of her opportunities, combining for an overall record of 20-8... went a perfect 7-0 in singles and doubles play in dual match action while posting records of 8-5 and 5-3 in singles and doubles play, respectively, during the fall tournament season... has competed in over 30 countries and boasts over 100 international victories, including her first professional doubles title last April while playing as an amateur in her hometown... attended high school at Colegio Los Anayanes where she was voted Senior of the Year... reached a WTA doubles ranking as high as No. 495.
"Tina is a tall, athletic lefty that has been very well coached and comes to us with a solid foundation. It's exciting to know that she has barely scratched the surface of her potential, and we are really looking forward to getting her to Houston and seeing how she develops when plugged into daily high-level competition and a serious strength and conditioning program."
ABOUT TINA RUPERT
Lefty from Slovenia who will actually be increasing her training and competition workload once she arrives on campus... father currently serves as Slovenia men's national coach... family runs a tennis club in hometown of Ljublijana.
PRIOR TO HOUSTON
Plays for the Slovenian national team as one of the country's top four players... competed as an amateur in the prestigious Federation Cup in Israel for the first time in February against Bulgaria and the Netherlands.
"In nearly ten years of college coaching, Depi is the first person I have signed during the early period, so that tells you how highly regarded she is around here. She is the type of student-athlete that championship teams are built around, and in fact turned down several offers from top-25 teams to come to Houston because she shares our dream and has the courage and confidence to be part of the foundation of something exciting and new."
ABOUT DESPOINA VOGASARI
Regarded as the highest ranked player to sign with Houston over the last 20 years... holds the highest ranking of any junior player in Greece.
PRIOR TO HOUSTON
Has claimed three professional singles and doubles titles while reaching the finals on seven other occassions while competing as an amateur over the last three years... claimed her first professional title at The Mytilini Open in Greece in 2012... earned first-career doubles title at ITF Marathon Futures event in Athens, Greece, in May... teamed up with current Cougar Elena Kordolaimi at an ITF Marathon Futures event the following week, reaching the doubles and singles finals... claimed second professional singles title at Jolie Ville Golf F24 Women's Open in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt in July... also represented Greece at prestigious Federation Cup in 2013.