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Thursday, September 28, 2023


VOLLEYBALL: Cougars find little relief at home

The Cougars’ once promising 2-0 start on their longest homestand of the season against stiff conference competition seems like only a distant memory.

Coming home to the Athletics/Alumni Center was UH’s chance to get off to a fresh start after a disappointing 3-13 start to their season.

With a 3-0 loss Friday to SMU (23-25, 20-25, 21-25) and a hard-fought 3-2 loss Sunday to Tulsa (22-25, 28-26, 14-25, 28-26, 9-15), the Cougars have lost three matches in a row. UH’s record is 6-16 overall, and 3-4 in Conference USA.

As is typical with a young team, the Cougars are still prone to careless mistakes, and ill-timed mental errors.

‘ ‘When we get behind ‘hellip; (players’) frustration starts to set in,’ head coach Bill Walton said. ‘We’ve got to find a way to not lose our confidence and not get frustrated, and just play.’

‘ ‘We did that against Tulane. Our record wasn’t that great against Tulane, but we maintained (confidence).’

Walton says preparation for Tulane was different compared to SMU (13-7, 3-3) and Tulsa (14-5, 4-2).

‘ ‘We beat Tulane because (we) had four days to get ready,’ Walton said. ‘Since that weekend, we haven’t had more than a day to get ready for the next team, and you see what happens. Young players can’t adjust to the next game plan quickly enough.’

The Cougars lost to SMU on Friday but played better against Tulsa ‘- one of the top teams in C-USA ‘- on Sunday. UH took the Golden Hurricane to five sets, which not a lot of teams have done.

After losing the first set, the Cougars hung on in the second set. They jumped out to an early four-point lead, which vanished quickly. The teams went back-and-forth, and the Cougars eventually won the set.

The Cougars were hoping to build off that tough battle, but came out flat in the third set, as Tulsa’s team attack percentage was .464.

The Cougars extended the match in the fourth set with an impressive 18 team kills in another tight game, 28-26. They simply ran out of gas, however, in the fifth set, and fell 15-9.

Walton says that with a young team there are going to be highs and lows, even in the course of a single match.

‘We win two games 28-26, and then the first and the fifth game were both cases where there’s a chance for us to hang with them, and then we just kind of break down,’ Walton said.

The Cougars will embark on a four-game road trip beginning with Southern Miss. at 6 p.m. Friday in Hattiesburg, Miss.

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