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Wednesday, October 4, 2023


Coogs’ fresh faces aim to contribute

The Cougars are confident that this year’s team has the ability to meet the expectations set by last year’s success, no matter what obstacles stand in their way.

Led by Justine Farmer and Kelsey King last season, UH won 20 games for the first time in seven years. The two seniors headed an explosive offense that wore down their opponents.

This year, the offense will look for younger leaders with the departure of Farmer and King. The roster includes six freshmen, but junior Amanda Carson is encouraged by the potential of the incoming players.

‘The new players are very athletic, so we’ll be able to build off that as we play more and gain more experience and just get better and better,’ Carson said.

With the constant turnover in the roster, it is natural for players to feel uncertain about their roles. The Cougars, however, appear to have confidence in their ability to fulfill different responsibilities.

Freshmen middle blockers Chandace Tryon, Stephanie Nwachukwu and Jasmine Terry find themselves in this position.

‘Chan, Steph and Jaz have all done a really good job of stepping in there and doing what they are supposed to be doing,’ Carson said.

Chemistry eases transition

Despite the talent, poise and potential that UH carries into this season, players like freshman Tara Roenicke recognize that adversity accompanies change.

‘There are going to be some hard times like getting used to the freshmen,’ Roenicke said.

Changes to the roster can also lead to problems with the team’s chemistry, but Roenicke does not believe the Cougars will have to confront this issue.

‘(It) has been good both on and off the court and that’s really important. It is good that we are all one,’ Roenicke said.

Senior Alik Cardoso de Sa knows that because of the changes, it is important for the team to stay together.

‘We have a lot of new freshmen, and they’re working for a good season,’ Cardoso de Sa said. ‘(Head) coach Bill (Walton) is doing a good job of saying to the team that we have to work together.’

High expectations

This year’s squad must work together to replicate the 2008 offense, which ranked fourth in Conference USA in kill percentage and average. This aggressive mentality must be repeated in 2009 for the Cougars to succeed on the offensive front.

‘We expect the same things out of our offense this year,’ Carson said. ‘We expect Chan, Jaz and Steph to go play hard and get kills for us because they have to.’

The Cougars have the same goals as last year, and Cardoso de Sa believes they can reach them.

‘We want to win conference and hopefully make the nationals,’ Cardoso de Sa said.

UH appears to understand what it will take to reach this desired destination. Given the influx of fresh faces, cooperation and communication will be important.

‘To get there we have to work together,’ Cardoso de Sa said. ‘And we have to work hard.’

The Cougars have plenty of potential, but it will take a great effort in practice and in games for UH to win C-USA.

The Cougars will kick off their season when they host the Flo Hyman Invitational today and Saturday inside the Athletics/Alumni Center.

UH will take on New Orleans at 1:30 p.m. today before facing Baylor at 7:30 p.m.

Southeastern Louisiana and Indiana will battle the Cougars on Saturday at 1:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m., respectively.

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