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Thursday, July 18, 2019


For a pair of seniors, final year is about more than themselves


Senior Maria Cardenas has had a productive career for the Cougars and is looking to finish her final season on a good note. | Courtesy of UH Athletics

As the tennis team returns from summer vacation, a long fall semester awaits them.

For head coach Courtney Steinbock, it’s a routine. Between the fall and the spring, players enter more of a strength and conditioning period with a few games and tournaments throughout the fall semester, until the spring where the season actually begins for the team.

“We like to get after it and train them really hard in the fall,” Steinbock said. “So it’s really important…to build a really good foundation that we can pull from once we start in the spring.”

The rigorous training in the fall is difficult for players like seniors Despoina Vogasari and Maria Cardenas to get accustomed to, but it’s a necessary preparation for the team to compete in the spring.

“It’s always harder to get back into the fall from summer,” Vogasari said. “You’re used to (less) intense practice. Then you get in the fall, and you work hard so you can be ready and fit for the spring. I think fall is where we work really hard on our fitness, and it’s always tougher for us mentally and physically.”

It’s no secret the fall semester has its perks. Vogasari enjoys the grind and uses it to her advantage.

“I think both semesters are very fun,” Vogasari said. “I work on my individual ranking during the fall, but the spring semester is our season where we all play against very good teams and we try as a team.”

For senior Maria Cardenas, the summer wasn’t much of a vacation, as she used her time to get ahead in her studies.

“I’m also a pre-med major, so I was taking lots of classes,” Cardenas said. “I took my MCAT during the summer…I just took the time to take care of my academics.”

As for Vogasari, she used the time to recover from a long season and heal up some nagging injuries.

“I went back home for about a month and a half and I rested a bit because it had been a very long season,” Vogasari said. “We all had something wrong with us, I had my wrist, so I had to rest for two or three weeks, but that doesn’t mean that I didn’t work on my fitness.”

As the team begins the strenuous semester, they know it’s for the best, especially for both seniors who expect to make this season a memorable one.

“I’m looking forward to the spring,” Cardenas said. “It’s my senior year. I really want to have that last successful season just to see the team get better and move up in the rankings…That’s what I’m looking forward to.”

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