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Sunday, October 1, 2023


VOLLEYBALL: Owls sweep aside Cougars

The Cougars made several mistakes early in their match against Rice and may have still stood a chance against other teams. That would not be the case with the Owls, however, who swept the Cougars (15-25, 26-28, 23-25) to end their three-match winning streak and drop UH’s record to 3-2 in Conference USA and 6-14 overall.

The Cougars found out that giving the Owls (12-4, 3-2 C-USA) free points is like swimming in a pool of sharks ‘- they may miss you once or twice, but eventually they will get you.’

Once the Owls put up some points, coming back was a tough challenge. Even a valiant effort at the end of the second set wasn’t enough to get the Cougars back in the game.’

After two solid home victories, the Cougars didn’t answer the bell against in-town rival Rice at the Athletics/Alumni Center Wednesday night. Head coach Bill Walton said it came down to poor preparation.

‘Yesterday we practiced pretty bad, Monday we practiced real bad,’ Walton said. ‘You know the old clich’eacute;, play like you practice? We kind of played the way we practiced.’

The match’s pivotal point came in the second set. For the Cougars, the set’s outcome would be the difference between a 1-all tie or an 0-2 deficit with a slim chance for a comeback.

The Cougars played well and led 18-14. After a timeout, the Owls scored three consecutive points and narrowed the margin to one. The Cougars then found themselves in a full-fledged battle.

The Cougars showed the same resolve they demonstrated during their winning streak, and nearly rode it to a new, three-set match.

The teams were digging and trading scores and the set went down to the wire. The Cougars, leading 26-25, committed two attack errors, and a service ace ceded the score to the Owls and subsequently the match.

‘We didn’t handle that situation well,’ Walton said. ‘We errored the second set right out. We had a hitting error, a passing error, three errors, and the game was over.’

The Cougars battled hard in the final set, but the match and the winning streak were hanging by the thinnest of threads. That strand finally broke and the Owls made their short trip back home with the victory in tow.

The Cougars, in their final weekend of the home stand, will try to redeem themselves when they play SMU (12-6, 2-2 C-USA) 7 p.m. Friday and Tulsa (12-5, 2-2 C-USA) 1 p.m. Sunday at the Athletics/Alumni Center.

Golfer nets award ‘

After helping guide the Cougars to a sixth-place finish at the Fighting Irish Gridiron Classic, golfer Matt Eschenburg was named C-USA Golfer of the Week.

Eschenburg recorded his second consecutive career-best finish with a 54-hole 216 at the tournament, which was good enough to tie for 14th place.’

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