Cougars head to Sunflower State
The young UH volleyball team will be tested tonight when they play their first road game of the season against Big 12 Kansas State in Manhattan, Kan.
The Cougars (1-0) began the season in dominant fashion sweeping Texas-Arlington (30-23, 30-24, 30-18).
The Cougars may have walked away with a big win against Texas-Arlington, but head coach Bill Walton expects more of them.
"Although we won the match, we don’t want to play like we did against UTA because we only played two really good games," Walton said. "We want to play hard and reach the goals set in practice."
That doesn’t mean that coach Walton is downplaying his team’s early success.
"We pretty much had two freshmen and a junior doing the majority of the passing versus UTA, and it was exceptional," Walton said. "We didn’t commit a single service reception error. You can play with anyone if you pass that well."
The Cougars are going to be facing tough competition throughout this entire week.
"They have three matches this week against top 30 teams," Walton said. "We played our first match and now we’re going to be challenged."
The Cougars will head up against an opponent that has already had more playing experience this year, and more wins.
Kansas State (3-0) started their season by overcoming No. 14 California Polytechnic State University (3-2).
The Wildcats then had two matches this Saturday that both turned out in their favor.
The first match against the University of North Texas ended in a sweep (3-0) while their evening game against Wichita State proved to be a little more of a challenge (3-1).
The Cougar’s stiffest competition at Kansas State may be junior transfer and Russian native Nataly Korobkova.
Korobkova was voted the Big 12 Preseason Newcomer of the Year. She also finished her debut game against Cal Poly with a double-double with 11 digs and a team-high 26 kills on 63 attempts.
The Cougars will also have several freshmen playing the first road match of their collegiate careers.
"They’re freshmen… and we know there’s going to be lots of days where they play like freshmen," Walton said. "It’s going to be their first time experiencing a road-match (and) playing in a hostile environment with 5,000 people."
Junior outside hitter Justine Farmer isn’t letting the nerves get to her because she’s excited about getting another chance to play Kansas State after the Cougars fell short her freshman season.
"I’ve always wanted to go back there and beat Kansas State," Farmer said. "I’m a lot more experienced now and I’m ready to bring it."
Head coach Bill Walton likes the vocal leadership from his All-Conference outside hitter.
"That’s what she (Farmer) has to do. With her level of play she has to lead on and off the court," Walton said.
With additional reporting by