April 11, 2014

Women's Tennis Welcomes Nationally-Ranked Houston Saturday

CORPUS CHRISTI – The Texas A&M - Corpus Christi women's tennis team will wrap their non-conference schedule when they meet No. 27 Houston on Saturday, April 12, at the Thomas J. Henry Tennis Center. The event is a makeup match that was originally scheduled for Feb. 2 in Houston, but was postponed due to rain in the forecast. Saturday's match is sponsored by Firehouse Subs and doubles play is slated for 12 p.m.

"We are very excited to have the University of Houston come to Corpus Christi," Director of Tennis Steve Moore said. "They have been ranked in the top 25 much of this season.

"Coach Patrick Sullivan is one of my closest friends in the industry. His teams always play hard and with great character. He has done one of the best coaching jobs in the country this year, taking a program that had not been nationally ranked, to as high as No. 21 in the nation in only his second year, an amazing job."

The Islanders (15-4, 7-1 SLC) are on a nine-match winning streak and are coming off a 4-0 sweeping road victory over Texas-Pan American on Wednesday. The Islanders secured the doubles point before senior Stefania Nicolae, senior Sandra Burges and sophomore Celia Rodriguez clinched their singles matches in straight sets.

Highlighting the Islanders this season are Judit Vives and Rodriguez, who are both on a team-high eight-match winning streak. Vives, the Southland Conference Women's Player of the Week, holds a 14-1 singles record, including a 7-1 mark in Southland play. The Barcelona, Spain native started out at No. 6 singles at the beginning of the season, worked her way up to No. 3, before picking up two wins at No. 2 singles.

Rodriguez has tallied a team-best 15 wins in singles play, including a perfect 12-0 mark in No. 4 singles. She is 6-1 in the conference in singles action and has teamed up with fellow sophomore Maider Martin in doubles play for an 11-4 record and a 5-1 mark in the conference. The duo are on a six-match winning streak with three wins apiece at No. 2 and No. 3 doubles. Martin is also on a two-match winning streak at No. 3 singles after capturing her matches against Sam Houston State and Lamar.

Senior co-captains, Nicolae and Burges have been tremendous warriors and leaders for the Islanders this season and will both enter Saturday's match on a four-match winning streak in singles play. Nicolae holds a 53-19 career dual-match record and currently stands at 27-11 in conference play in her four years. Burges' record is just as remarkable with a career dual-match record of 55-20 and a conference match of 28-11 in her four years. This season, Burges is 7-1 in conference action and holds an overall mark of 14-4, including a 9-1 record at No. 5 singles. 

In her first season, Kerry Galhos has made a name for herself with an 11-3 dual match record in singles play, including a 7-1 mark in Southland play.

Houston comes into Saturday's match as the No. 27 ranked team in the ITA rankings with a 17-4 record. The Cougars have won six of their last seven matches, including two straight over No. 31 DePaul and Texas State. Highlighting the team in singles play is freshman Despoina Vogasari, who is ranked No. 93 in the ITA singles rankings, and holds a 22-6 overall record and an 18-3 mark in dual matches at No. 1 singles. Tina Rupert also leads the Cougars with a 15-3 record, including a 20-6 overall mark. In doubles, Elena Kordolaimi and Vogasari hold a 12-5 dual-match record with nine of those wins coming at No. 1 doubles.

"We're incredibly proud to welcome a team of their caliber to Corpus Christi, and the opportunity for great competition in front of the great Corpus Christi Community," Moore said. "This match will be a great event."

Last season, the Islanders opened the season against the No. 75-ranked Cougars in Houston, and grinded out a 4-3 victory. The Islanders won the first three singles matches before the Cougars evened things up with three singles victories of their own. The match came down to doubles where the Islanders clinched the point with wins on courts one and two to secure the victory. Martin, Burges and Nicolae all picked up singles wins.

"I want to give a special thank you to Firehouse Subs and David Barganski for their support of Islanders Athletics, Islanders Tennis and for sponsoring this great match," Moore added. "We are very grateful for Firehouse Subs."

The Islanders will continue play at home on Monday, April 14, when they host Oral Roberts in Southland Conference action. Doubles play is slated for a 4:30 p.m. start.

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