Cougar volleyball plays Longhorns
The University of Houston volleyball team came up short in its last match at Kansas State, but now the players are home and ready to try their hand at yet another Big 12 opponent as they open play in the Houston Invitational against Texas at 5 p.m. today at the Athletics/Alumni Center.
After sweeping their way to victory in their first match against Texas-Arlington, the Cougars got a taste of their own medicine on the road against Kansas, losing in straight sets.
Head coach Bill Walton knows the task at hand and realizes that his young team must be alert and prepared to play against Texas.
"We have a young team, but we must be able to adapt and change our tactics on the fly," Walton said. "The only way that we’re going to beat teams more talented than us is to be more flexible. When they take something away from us that we do well we have to recognize it and do something else."
The Cougars may have the advantage as they are the only one of the two teams to have a win this season.
While the Cougars gained momentum by winning their home opener, the Longhorns have a different story.
The Longhorns lost to Penn State in two consecutive matches last weekend, including their home opener. The Horns finished both games 1-3.
UT, however, has history on their side. The last time these two teams played each other, the Cougars fell 3-0.
Sophomore outside hitter Destinee Hooker and freshman outside hitter Julianne Faucette will lead the match against the Longhorns.
Hooker was a member of the 2006 All-Big 12 team and has averaged 16 kills per match this season.
Faucette comes to Texas with impressive high school accomplishments including an appearance in the 2007 Volleyball Magazine Fab 50 Recruits. She led the Longhorns in their last match with 18 kills.
UH junior outside hitter Justine Farmer leads the Cougars in kills per match this season with 16.
Farmer is excited about playing the competition and looks forward to tonight’s match up against the Longhorns.
"I think playing top 25 teams is the best way to go in preseason. Not to take anything way from UT-Arlington, but I wouldn’t want to play them every time," said Farmer. "If we play well and come up short, then I can live with that."
Former defensive specialist and new outside hitter Ashley Calhoun is adjusting well in her new role after leading Cougars with seven kills in their last match. Calhoun said that good passing will be the key tonight when the Cougars play Texas.
"We’re definitely going to have to serve and receive the ball better," Calhoun said. "We need to talk a lot more amongst ourselves while on the court and just go all out."
After facing the Longhorns tonight, UH will prepare to take on New Mexico State at 1 p.m. Sunday.
Fans are encouraged to support the team and take advantage of the "Pack the House" promotion that is happening all weekend.