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Monday, September 27, 2021

Tennis

Cougars’ continued consistency leads hot American start


The No. 24 Cougars hope to continue playing at a high level as American Athletic Conference play gets going. | File photo/ The Daily Cougar

The No. 24 Cougars hope to continue playing at a high level as American Athletic Conference play gets going.  |  File photo/ The Daily Cougar

As the Cougars improve, so does their competition — UH has faced seven ranked teams in its first 17 games.

But the challenge is not done, as UH entered the stretch run of its season Saturday. The Cougars got off to an undefeated start in American Athletic Conference play, defeating SMU in Dallas 5-2 Saturday and UAB 7-0 Tuesday.

With a nationally ranked team composed mostly of underclassmen, continuing to play at a high level during American play will be a learning experience for head coach Patrick Sullivan and his team.

After attaining its highest ranking ever, No. 24 UH (14-3) gets every school’s best match and, in turn, is forced to produce its best.

“It’s just a matter of constantly having it in our minds that we can’t have any wasted moments in practice, wasted moments in training,” Sullivan said.

Keeping the team focused on one win at a time is Sullivan’s plan, but when the team is tired mentally and physically, the challenge rises. Sullivan and his players said getting rest is a must with only six matches left until the American Conference tournament begins.

“We just have to keep on encouraging each other and keep the same fire that we had in the first match until the last one,” Despoina Vogasari said.

Vogasari, who has been playing tennis about 13 years and holds the highest rank of any junior player in her native Greece, is a part of a talented crop of underclassmen who will continue to “keep the same fire” needed to gain their fourth straight win. Last week they gained confidence by earning wins against SMU and Louisiana Tech before taking down UAB on Monday.

“We might be a young team, but we’re all very experienced,” Vogasari said. “We know how to face tough matches.”

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