Cougars ‘warm up’ with two tough Arizona teams

After a long, competitive weekend, the match against Intercollegiate Tennis Association’s No. 19 ranked Arizona State on Sunday afternoon was one the Cougars could only learn from. The Sun Devils defeated the Cougar netters 7-0, causing them to fall to 2-4.

"We played a very good Arizona State team," UH head coach John Severance said. "I think (they’re one of the) top 10 teams in the country. We had some great matches in the one and two singles."

On Saturday, UH was right on the heels of No. 39 University of Arizona and came within points of defeating the Wildcats.

The Cougars were points away from winning the match, not games, said Severance.

Junior Jordan McCombs and freshman Lucy Forward defeated Wildcats sophomores Natalia Toporowska and Katie Orletsky 8-2, in the No. 1 match and senior Leila Salek finessed a win in the No. 2 singles match over Arizona’s Toporowska 6-1, 1-6, 6-1.

In the end, even the Cougars junior Vicky Simpson victory over the Wildcats sophomore Ariane Masschelein wasn’t enough to win the meet. The Cougars fell short of the win 5-2.

"Anytime we play close matches like that (the team is) going to get the experience of what to continue to do and what not to do," Severance said. "It was great for us because it put (us) in a situation where (we) could win against a top 40 team and their confidence should be high."

On Friday, the Cougars defeated Grand Canyon University with a 7-0 win. The match helped the Cougars prepare mentally for their next few matches.

"We used Grand Canyon as a warm-up match for the two (Pacific-10 Conference) schools," Severance said. "It was just a match (where we) went out and did what we needed to do."

Up next for the Cougars is a double header against Stephen F. Austin and Lee College today at 9:30 a.m. and 2 p.m. at John E. Hoff Courts. McCombs, a transfer from Lee College, is looking forward to the match-up with her former national winning teammates.

"It always exciting to play your old teammates," McCombs said. "We may have some challenges, but I think the chemistry that we have is such a strong bond that we can take down Lee College with straight victories."

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