Cougars get another home win
The UH volleyball (2-3) team was pushed to the limit last night against Cal-State Bakersfield and came out victorious in what was their grittiest win of the young season. (30-22, 17-30, 20-30, 30-28, 15-13).
Things looked as if they would be easy for the Cougars after the first game in which they dominated Cal-State Bakersfield. With the game being tied at 18-18, sophomore middle blocker Erin Rice put down a kill to give UH the lead 19-18.
Sophomore outside hitter Ashley Calhoun later put down a kill followed by a service ace to give the Cougars a 26-22 advantage. UH ended the game on a solo block by freshman middle blocker, Lucy Charuk to give the Cougars 30-22, the 1-0 advantage.
Charuk was perfect in the first game as she notched four kills on four attempts and led all players with 21 kills on the match.
"I felt like I was really intense tonight and didn’t want to lose," said Charuk.
Head coach Bill Walton was also impressed with the play of his young middle blocker.
"Lucy was consistent tonight and had a great night for us," Walton said.
Freshman outside hitter Hannah Sullivan and CSB junior outside hitter, Sara Norman led all players in the first game with five kills.
UH would not have the same fortunes in the second game as the Roadrunners got off to a quick start and took a 6-0 lead to start the game.
CSB extended their lead to 10-4 on a kill by junior outside hitter, Sarah Warner. Norman capped off a CSB 15-6 run with a kill to give her team a 21-6 edge.
UH managed to put together a 5-0 run to make the score 21-11, but couldn’t come back. CSB won game two 17-30.
Charuk powered the Cougars with 11 kills and a .647 hitting percentage through two games.
Things looked promising for the Cougars in the third game after they took an early 5-2 lead, but it was all Cal State Bakersfield from that point forward.
After the Roadrunners tied the game at 7-7, they turned it up on the Cougars. CSB went on a 7-1 run to increase their lead to 21-12 and force a Houston timeout.
UH never put together a run during the third game and failed 20-30.
Junior outside hitter Justine Farmer, who was quiet for the majority of the first two games, came alive and added 6 kills for the Cougars.
"Justine played a lot better than she did in the first two games. Her serving wasn’t really good, but her hitting and blocking were excellent," Walton said.
The Cougars would not be denied in the fourth and most intense game of the match. Everything was going right for the Cougars when they jumped out to a 13-4 lead.
A kill by freshman middle blocker Malia Vavao made it 19-9 and UH looked like they had the game won.
CSB had other plans, and went on a 9-2 run to pull to within four points.
Farmer came out of the break with a nasty kill to give the Cougars a 26-21 advantage.
UH finished the game 30-28 when Charuk got yet another game-ending block.
"We were down 2-1 and our team didn’t give up," Walton said. "A lot of young players went through a tough situation tonight, and we have to be better at handling those."
After forcing a fifth and decisive game, UH started flat again and trailed 8-3.
Farmer gave UH its first lead of the game at 11-10 with her 14th and final kill of the match.
With the game tied, Calhoun had the biggest point of the match when she slammed a ball at a CSB defender to give the Cougars a 14-13 advantage.
The Cougars went on to win 15-13 to complete their second victory of the season.
"It feels great to help my team win the match," Calhoun said. "I may have gotten the kills, but if not for a perfect pass or a great set, we may not have been so fortunate."
UH was led by Charuk with 21 kills and Farmer put in a double-double with 14 kills and 10 digs. Calhoun and freshman Hannah Sullivan each had eight kills.
The Cougars will continue one of their most testing weeks of the season tonight against the University of Texas-San Antonio.
The UTSA Roadrunners are 3-4, but the Cougars will be looking to ruin any plans they have of pushing their current winning streak to a season-high three matches.
Like the Cougars, UTSA has a fairly young team and it will be led by freshman outside hitter Kendra Rowland.
Rowland leads UTSA in kills this season and recorded a game-high 22 kills in her last match against Southeast Missouri State.
"Playing on the road against a team with a bunch of underclassmen is exactly what we want," Walton said. "If we can get in there and get a victory before going into the weekend we’ll be 3-3 and have a chance to come out to the weekend above .500, so it’ll be good for us."
UTSA should also receive contributions from junior middle hitter Victoria Price and junior defensive specialist Audrey Hider.
Price is second on the team in kills while Hider has paced the roadrunners with a team high 75 digs on the season.
The Cougars are in the midst of playing five matches in a four-day span. Calhoun isn’t worried about her team’s physical condition and said that they’ll be ready for anything.
"I think we’re ready for the week ahead," said Calhoun.
"It’s all about preparation, and as long as we stay healthy by getting our rest and eating right I think we’ll be ok."