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Friday, September 29, 2023


Cougars beat ranked teams in road games

The Cougars ended back-to-back weekend road trips with two monumental wins against Samford and No. 40 Louisville, improving their season record to 11-8.

Houston was forced to play indoors due to freezing weather conditions in Louisville, Ky. against South Alabama on Saturday, and suffered a 5-2 loss indoors to the Jaguars.

"Our game is not considered for indoor conditions, but we can’t control weather, so occasionally we have to play indoors," said UH head coach John Severance.

Cougars junior Lynley Wasson did not lose her focus indoors as she fought for her 6-2, 0-6, 6-0 win over freshman Katie Welch in the No. 4 singles match. Senior Leila Salek fought her way to a win against nationally-ranked Jaguars junior Michaela Babicova 5-7, 6-4, 10-6 in the No. 2 singles competition.

Despite their efforts, Houston fell 5-2 against #58 South Alabama.

Houston competed against the Jaguars on courts where the Cougars could not perform their familiar style outworking the competition, but instead had to play at a much faster pace Severance said.

The Cougars’ disappointing loss to South Alabama followed Houston’s 4-3 upset of No. 40 Louisville at Bass-Rudd Tennis Center in Kentucky on Friday.

With the Cougars falling short in all the doubles matches, it was crucial for Houston to succeed during the singles competition. Freshman Lucy Forward battled her way to a 4-6, 6-2, 6-1 win over Cardinals sophomore Lauren Imre in the No. 1 singles competition.

Wasson tamed Louisville junior Natalia Baez in the No. 4 singles match 6-3, 6-4, and Salek did not let Cardinals junior Lindsey Jones stop her from giving Houston the final push as she pulled out a victory in the third set, 6-7 (5-7), 6-2, 6-2.

Houston junior Vicky Simpson fell short against Cardinal senior Robyn White 6-3, 6-3 in the No. 5 singles match, and Cougar sophomore Neila Starratt’s loss to junior Bianca Gorbea 6-4, 6-2 in the No. 3 singles competition put the pressure on Houston freshman Joanna Kacprzyk in the final match.

Kacprzyk gave Houston the final singles win as she defeated Louisville sophomore Jo-Ann Van Aerde in the No. 6 singles match 6-4, 6-4. Houston’s showing in the singles competition led to a 4-3 upset against nationally-ranked Louisville.

"This was definitely our best win of the year and one of the best wins in the seven years that I’ve been at Houston," Severance said.

The meet again came down to the final singles match as the Cougars battled Samford on March 16 in Birmingham, Ala.

Simpson teamed up with junior Jordan McCombs at No. 3 doubles and defeated Bulldogs freshmen Rebecca Kirven and Andrie Meiring, 8-2. Another Bulldog freshman duo, Lindsey Mallory and Taylor Morgan, fell against Houston as Salek and Wasson clinched No. 2 doubles 8-5.

Forward and freshman Isabella Glinska dropped Houston’s only loss, 8-5, in the No. 1 doubles competition against Samford seniors Anna Jackson and Katie Weaver.

Weaver met up with Wasson in the No. 4 singles competition, which would decide the overall match. Wasson stepped her game up as she came from behind to defeat Weaver 3-6, 6-4, 6-4 and give Houston the win.

"We had a very exciting 4-3 win over Samford, and Lynley (Wasson) picked up the final win under a very high pressure situation. Lynley deserved to win that match," Severance said.

The Cougars began their road trip against the Alabama Crimson Tide on March 15 in Tuscaloosa, Ala.

Alabama is a traditionally strong team, and the weather did not permit the Cougars to play their style of game as inclement weather forced the meet inside and led the Crimson Tide to a 7-0 washout against Houston.

"Overall, (it was) a pretty good spring break. We played indoors a little bit more then we typically do," Severance said. "We got a win against No. 40 Louisville. Our confidence should be high, and if we play outdoors against anyone in our conference we should have a shot."

The Cougars are looking for success as they go into the Conference USA tournament in April and prepare for an intense competition against defending C-USA champions Tulsa on April 4 in Oklahoma. Houston will also play Oral Roberts and North Texas on the trip.

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