"In my opinion, this is the best win in the seven years I've been at Houston," UH head coach John Severance said. "We beat No. 33 Mississippi State early one year (2006), but they were unranked at the end of the year. (Louisville) beat the two top teams in our conference (Tulsa and SMU) last week in Dallas, so this is an incredible performance on our part.
"I think we've been working hard the whole year. The program and philosophy we're teaching, it takes a little bit of time. They are starting to get it and starting to believe. They go out and expect to win. They hadn't done that earlier in the year. Sometimes you have to get beat before you turn things around," Severence said.
After Lynley Wasson knocked off Natalia Baez, 6-3, 6-4, at No. 4 singles to knot the match at 3-all, it came down to the No. 2 singles match of Leila Salek for all the marbles. After dropping the first set, 7-6 (5), against Lindsey Jones, Salek rallied to take the final two sets 6-2, 6-2, and give Houston its 11th win of the season.
It didn't appear that Houston would put itself in a position to knock off the nationally ranked Cardinals, especially if the doubles point would be indicative of the day. The Cougars were taken out quite handily in doubles play, losing all three matches by a combined total of 24-14.
But, UH would rebound in singles, and it would start at the top. Mired in a five-match skid, Lucy Forward dug deep to get the Cougars on the board. Like Salek, Forward dropped the first set, but then took command of the match and overwhelmed Lauren Imre at No. 1 by 4-6, 6-2, 6-1.
UH briefly took the lead when Joanna Kacprzyk banged out a 6-4, 6-4 win over Jo-Ann Van Aerde at No. 6, but the Cougars would drop two straight singles match to set up the rally. At No. 5, Vicky Simpson dropped a 6-3, 6-3 straight-setter to Robyn White, while Neila Starratt found herself on the wrong side of a 6-4, 6-2 decision to Bianca Gorbea at No. 3.
The consecutive losses at No. 3 and No. 5 were moot once the Cougars sprinted past the Cardinals for the win. Houston improved to 5-1 lifetime against Louisville.