CORPUS CHRISTI – The Texas A&M - Corpus Christi women's tennis team will travel to Houston this weekend for its first road test of the season. The Islanders will open play on Saturday, Feb. 1 against Southern Mississippi at 1 p.m. before taking on the Cougars at 11 a.m. on Sunday at John E. Hoff Courts.
"This will be a tough weekend for our team against two very good opponents," Director of Tennis Steve Moore said. "We're excited. We have been working really hard and are looking at the chance to compete.
"This is a very focused group and we just have to make those choices to be great at the things we can control and play with freedom."
The Islanders (1-0) are coming off a 6-0 victory over Maryland Baltimore County in the season opener on Sunday at the Thomas J. Henry Tennis Center. A&M - Corpus Christi swept all six singles matches. Stefania Nicolae, Maider Martin, Sandra Burges and Celia Rodriguez along with freshmen Kerry Galhos and Judit Vives all clinched their first singles matches of the season.
Southern Miss (1-2) is coming off a 6-1 loss to Houston today. Prior to that the Golden Eagles swept Jackson State 7-0 last weekend. The victory snapped the Golden Eagles streak of 24 consecutive losses. Southern Miss fell 6-1 to No. 53 Tulane in the season opener. Senior Alexus Coats is the lone returner from last season's team that finished 0-21 and 0-5 in Conference USA. Coats joins six freshmen under first-year head coach Dominic Modise.
The Islanders and Golden Eagles have never faced each other in program history, while the Cougars dropped a 4-3 loss to A&M - Corpus Christi in Houston in last season's opening match. The Islanders clinched the doubles point, 8-5, to win one of the biggest matches in program history. Martin, Burges and Nicolae all captured their singles matches in straight sets.
Houston improves to 3-0 after today's win over Southern Miss. Prior to today, the Cougars topped UTSA 5-0 and New Mexico 4-3 at home. Freshman Despoina Vogasari who is ranked No. 13 in the Texas regional rankings leads UH. The Cougars return three-year letterwinners Celia Fraser, Jo Garvey and Dionne Sanders from a team that posted a 13-11 record a year ago.
"Houston's head coach Pat Sullivan is a very good friend, a very good coach and a team we have the highest respect for," Moore said. "We know that Southern Miss is a very high-leveled opponent, so we have to be ready to play each point with intensity."
Live stats for Sunday's match against Houston can be found here. Following Sunday's match, the women's team along with the men's team will travel to Prairie View on Feb. 4 to take on the Panthers at 2 p.m.
"This is the early part of our season, so we really just want to make a statement with the way we compete and the spirit that we support each other," Moore added. "I love the character and leadership of this women's team."
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