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Monday, October 25, 2021

Tennis

Cougars prepare for return with fall schedule


U.K. native sophomore Dionne Sanders finished with a 13-7 record in singles play in her first season at UH. | File Photo/The Daily Cougar

U.K. native sophomore Dionne Sanders finished with a 13-7 record in singles play in her first season at UH. | File Photo/The Daily Cougar

UH is the second most diverse school in the country. The composition of the Cougars’ roster exemplifies this.

All eight players are European-born. Five are from Great Britain, and the remaining three from Italy, the Netherlands and Poland.

Despite losing last season’s second-most winningest player, Joanna Kacyprzyk, they return six players and welcome two freshmen.

Fall practices officially start Sept. 6., but in the meantime, offseason training has been encouraged to maintain fitness. Six hours are spent in the weight room, and an additional two hours on the court every week.

Head coach John Severance said he hopes the extra hours will pay dividends later in the season.

“They need to continue to work hard, and know what working hard is,” Severance said. “I think they are starting to do that. We are not as young as we were last year, and the experience is going to pay off for us.”

Last season, Tulane ended the Cougars season, eliminating them in the first round of the Conference USA Championship tournament, and finished with a 16-8 record. UH will be looking to change its destiny this season behind Severance who is entering his eighth season as head coach.

The Cougars will compete in five tournaments in the fall before the more challenging portion of their schedule begins in the spring.

The first is the Islander Invitational Sept. 16-17 in Corpus Christi. From Sept. 30-Oct. 2 the Cougars will participate in the SDSU Invitational in San Diego.

The third competition is the Roberta Allison Classic in Tuscaloosa, Ala from Oct. 14-16. From Oct. 21-25 the Cougars will travel to Fort Worth for the ITA Regional, and will end the fall slate when they host the Cougar Fall Draw from Nov. 4-6 at John E. Hoff Courts.

Severance said he hopes the Cougars show growth in the first five matches as a way of preparing for the spring.

“The fall tournaments won’t directly affect the team,” Severance said. “It’s a chance for them to develop more as a player. We just want them to get better.”

UH put more challenging opponents on its schedule as a way to climb the national rankings.

Last season the Cougars began the season with a loss against Baylor. They will have a chance to get even Jan. 21 in Waco.

”I’m expecting better results and higher expectations than last season,” Severance said. “We have a more difficult schedule with more nationally-ranked opponents, yet if we develop well and play well, we will get our national rankings.”


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