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Sunday, October 1, 2023


Volleyball hits the road to take on Central Florida

After winning three consecutive matches and regaining a .500 record, the UH volleyball team will try to keep their wins going against Central Florida in its first conference road match of the season.

The Cougars (6-6) are in the midst of their longest winning streak of the season – that started last week against rival Rice.

After a stretch of eight matches in 10 days, the team was glad to have a light week leading up to Friday’s showdown in Orlando, Fla.

"We had a hectic schedule the past two weeks," sophomore outside hitter Erin Rice said. "It’s good to be able to just slow it down and pay more attention to the little individual things that need to be taken care of as opposed to just playing. Now we’re going into the weekend comfortable and ready to play."

The Cougars swept UCF (8-6) last season when they came to Houston. Junior outside hitter Justine Farmer led UH in that match with 13 kills and 13 digs.

This time around, several freshmen will be counted on to contribute for the Cougars, including middle blocker Lucy Charuk and outside hitter Hannah Sullivan.

"I think they realized that they’re half the team and need to step it up," Rice said of her freshmen teammates. "They’ve been doing a really good job this season."

Someone’s streak will come to an end tomorrow night since UCF has won two consecutive matches and six games of its last seven.

Junior outside hitter Stephanie Serna leads the Golden Knights in kills this season with 162. Senior outside hitter Schanell Neiderworder is coming off a 20-kill performance in a victory against George Mason University.

UCF was bumped from its regular facilities, therefore, tomorrow night’s match will be played in a high school gymnasium.

"It will almost be like a neutral court for Central Florida," Walton said. "In some ways it will be a benefit to us."

Although the Cougars swept UCF last season, Walton knows that fact has nothing to do with tomorrow night.

"I don’t think what happened last year has anything to do with this year because we have too many new players," Walton said. "This team doesn’t know anything about last year, so we’re just going for four in a row."

This road trip will be a short one for the Cougars as they will turn around and play Southern Miss (9-7) at 1 p.m. Sunday in the Athletic/Alumni Center.

The Golden Eagles are in the midst of a six-match winning streak. Senior middle blocker Morgan Johnson is the team leader in kills with 165 on the season.

Last season, Southern Miss ended Houston’s streak of 11 consecutive victories at home. In that game, sophomore outside hitter Angela Hlavaty powered the Golden Eagles with 19 kills. Farmer had 28 kills and 25 digs in a losing cause.

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