SMU Set To Host AAC Rival Houston On Saturday

Go smu! Sophomore Yana Erkeeva
Go smu!
Sophomore Yana Erkeeva
Go smu!

March 20, 2014

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DALLAS (SMU) -- SMU has won five of its last six matches and looks to add to that on Saturday as the Mustangs host American Athletic Conference rival and No. 24 ranked Houston on Saturday, March 26 at noon at the Northwood Country Club in Dallas. Houston is the fifth and final AAC opponent that SMU will face prior to the conference tournament in Tampa, Fla.

The Mustangs have posted a 2-2 record in The American this spring with wins over Temple (7-0) and UCF (4-3). Following Saturday’s match, SMU travels to nearby Arlington, Texas to take on UTA in the Mustangs final road match of the regular season. SMU closes its regular season with four straight home matches beginning with Middle Tennessee State on April 3 at 4 p.m.

The Week That Was:
SMU competed three times this past week as the Mustangs traveled to Florida for a three match road trip. The Ponies posted a 2-1 record in those three matches with wins over Penn State (5-2) and American Athletic Conference foe UCF (4-3), while SMU fell to No. 62 USF, 6-1. In the match against Penn State, SMU took the opening doubles point and then won at the No. 3, 4, 5 and 6 singles positions to secure the match victory over the Nittany Lions. Against UCF, the Mustangs took the opening doubles point as well and then won at the No. 2, 3 and 4 singles positions to secure the victory over the Knights, 4-3.

Individually, the Mustangs were led by sophomore Yana Erkeeva (16-7) as she posted an unblemished 3-0 mark last week and has now won six matches in a row. Erkeeva defeated beat Penn State senior Marie Bedard in straight sets, 6-0, 6-1, USF senior Fanny Fracassi in three sets, 0-6, 7-6, 10-8 and Central Florida freshman Cortney Cesarini, 6-2, 6-4 with all three wins coming at the No. 4 singles position. In doubles, sophomore Vaszilisza Bulgakova and freshman Dasha Sharapova (11-3) earned three victories as the tandem has now won five straight matches and won all their matches at the No. 1 doubles position.

Scouting the Cougars:
Houston is 11-3, 2-0 and ranked 24th in the latest ITA rankings. The Cougars have defeated four ranked opponents this season including No. 63 North Texas (5-0), No. 59 Washington State (5-2), No. 40 Washington (4-3) and No. 17 Tulsa (4-3). Individually, freshman Despoina Vogasari is the lone ranked Houston player as she posted a 16-5 overall record that include a 12-2 marks at the No. 1 singles position. In addition to Vogasari, sophomore Maria Cardenas is 15-4 overall while sophomore Rocio Martin is 10-3. Houston is 2-2 on the road this season.

Previous Meeting:
SMU and Houston last met during the 2010-11 season when the Mustangs defeated the Cougars, 4-1 in Houston.

Fountain of Youth:
SMU has no seniors on its roster as seven of the Mustangs eight student-athletes are freshman or sophomores. The Ponies are led by sophomore Yana Erkeeva and freshman Dasha Sharapova lead their respective classes as they have posted overall records of 16-7 and 14-9, respectively. Erkeeva has played the majority of her matches at the No. 4 position while Sharapova has made a home at the No. 3 spot.

Start of an Era:
Joining the American Athletic Conference for its inaugural season, the SMU women’s tennis team is competing in its fourth conference since the program’s inception in 1972. The American consists of 10 teams during its first season, highlighted by three ranked teams including No. 24 Houston, No. 41 USF and No. 48 Memphis.

A Temporary Home:
SMU will play its home matches at the Northwood Club Tennis Courts while the new SMU men’s and women’s tennis complex is being built. The address for the Northwood Club is 6524 Alpha Rd. Dallas, TX 75240. Below are directions from the Loyd All-Sports Center on SMU’s campus to Northwood.