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Monday, September 25, 2023


Plate of home cooking helps UH extend win streak

The Cougars returned home after a month of away matches eager to gain momentum and turn their season around.’

That’s exactly what they did on Friday and Saturday, knocking off C-USA foes Tulane 3-2 (25-23, 19-25, 13-25, 25-22, 15-7) and UTEP 3-0 (25-18, 26-24, 25-20), respectively.’

The Cougars’ record now stands at 6-13 overall and 3-1 in C-USA play after a three-match winning streak, their longest of the season.’

Head coach Bill Walton is not surprised that the team’s turnaround coincides with a new level of confidence on the court.

‘They’re playing with a lot of confidence, and for a young team that’s hard to do,’ Walton said.

The Cougars played well in the first set against UTEP, winning easily. The second set, however, was close throughout, with the teams exchanging leads several times.

UTEP had the serve with the score knotted at 24-all, but the Cougars converted two consecutive blocks to win the game and give them a commanding 2-0 lead in the match.

‘The key to that game was that we got two blocks in a row,’ Walton said. ‘That’s what good teams do. They execute at the end of the game.’

Their victory over Tulane on Friday was tougher, requiring a fifth set to decide the match.’

Digging was key in a back-and-forth sequence to end the first set. A kill by middle blocker Chandace Tryon finally ended the rally.

At the forefront of the Cougars’ digging was designated server Amanda Carson, who had 20 digs for the third consecutive match.

Tulane rebounded from the opening-set loss to take the next two, thanks in part to a .409 team attack percentage on 23 kills in the second set and a .414 team attack percentage in the third set.

With a 2-1 advantage, Tulane appeared to have control of the match. The Cougars, however, refused to give up, and rallied to make a furious comeback.

The Cougars had 20 kills on a .441 team attack percentage in the fourth set, and a .381 attack percentage in the fifth to win their first home game in over a month.

‘They definitely fed off of being home,’ Walton said.

Throughout the weekend, Walton said he noticed a difference in his young squad.

‘I thought our team was real poised compared to some of (the) things you’ve seen earlier in the season,’ Walton said.’

The Cougars return to action when they host in-town rival Rice at the Athletics/Alumni Center Wednesday at 7 p.m.

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