Aug. 29, 2012
HOUSTON - Thirteen home matches and four contests against teams that were ranked among the nation's top-35 squads a year ago highlight the 2012-13 University of Houston tennis schedule, head coach Patrick Sullivan announced Wednesday.
The Cougars will play the most home matches since the 2006 season, including contests against two 2012 NCAA Tournament participants, and cap off the action at John E. Hoff Courts by hosting the 2013 Conference USA Championship (April 18-21) in their final season in the league.
Houston will face teams from 13 different conferences, including four matches against opponents from the Big 12, BIG EAST and SEC.
"In evaluating the state of the program and choosing the most direct path to becoming a perennial NCAA Tournament team, one of the major areas of need was improving the strength of our schedule," Sullivan said. "Something fans will notice on this year's schedule and even more so moving forward are high-quality opponents and an emphasis on scheduling home matches. Houston is a great city that teams around the country want to visit, and we plan to capitalize on that and build a great match-day atmosphere.
"Thanks to a generous donation by Phillip Winston, we will have an electronic remote-controlled scoreboard this spring that will really enhance the spectator experience," Sullivan said. "We hope to establish a great home-court advantage at John E. Hoff and want to ask our fans to create a winning environment by coming out to see some high-quality tennis and being vocal supporters."
The Cougars kick off the 2012-13 season with 11 fall tournament events, beginning with the War Eagle Invitational in Auburn, Ala., on Sept. 7-9. The strong fall slate also includes tournaments played at Texas, Florida and Arkansas.
Houston will host its annual Cougar Fall Open on Nov. 2-4, featuring a talented field that includes Arkansas, Auburn, Iowa State, Oregon, Rice and TCU.
Former student-athletes are invited back for the UH Tennis Alumni Weekend on Nov. 9-10, where there will be a short doubles format followed by tailgating for the Houston vs. Tulsa football game.
The Cougars kick off the 2013 dual match season with back-to-back contests against NCAA Tournament participants from a year ago, beginning with Stephen F. Austin at home on Jan. 15 and followed by a road contest at Baylor on Jan. 18.
Houston returns home for a doubleheader on Jan. 25 against McNeese State and Tyler Junior College before playing host to Texas A&M-Corpus Christi (Jan. 27), who posted a 16-4 mark in 2012.
The Cougars then embark on a six-match road trip from Feb. 2 through Feb. 16, traveling to face Southern Miss, Mississippi State, UTSA, Texas State, North Florida and Florida Gulf Coast.
Houston resumes play at Hoff Courts on Feb. 22, playing nine of the next 10 matches on the Cougars' home turf against Northwestern State, UTPA, UMKC, Western Michigan, TCU, William & Mary, UALR, UAB and Southeastern Louisiana, with the lone road contest coming at Manhattan.
The final regular-season matches will be played in Tulsa, Okla., against Louisville on April 6 and the host Golden Hurricane on April 7 before the Cougars return to Houston for the C-USA Championship on April 18-21.
ABOUT THE COUGARS
Houston returns seven of nine letterwinners and five of six regular starters in singles play from last year's squad that posted the program's 10th-straight winning season.
Fraser (22-14), Hunter (33-17) and Kazimieruk (39-19) all have posted winning records every season in dual singles play as regular starters, while Koenen and Phillips combined for a 25-16 mark in their first collegiate seasons a year ago.
The Cougars also picked up an impact transfer in Elena Kordolaimi, who starred as a freshman at Stephen F. Austin. Kordolaimi posted an overall singles mark of 23-9 and earned a 17-7 record in dual play primarily at the top position to help lead the `Jacks to their first-ever NCAA Tournament appearance.
Joining Kordolaimi as a newcomer to the squad is freshman Gabriella Jansson of nearby Cy-Fair High School.