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Tuesday, October 3, 2023


VOLLEYBALL: UH facing tough weekend at home

After a disappointing 1-3 road trip, the Cougars will return to the Athletics/Alumni Center to compete in their final two home contests of the season this weekend.

The Cougars (7-19, 4-7), will face Marshall (19-5, 7-3) at 7 p.m. today and East Carolina (9-14, 2-9) at 7 p.m. Saturday.

The Cougars will try to correct two disturbing trends in their final homestand. In its two losses to Tulsa and SMU last weekend, UH failed to win a single set, marking the third time this season the Cougars have lost consecutive matches without winning a set. The pair of defeats also means the Cougars have been shut out in 10 out of their 19 losses.

One key factor in the losses was the Cougars’ offensive ineptitude. UH committed 21 errors against SMU and a staggering 31 errors against Tulsa – the most errors the Cougars have committed in a three-set match this season.

The Cougars also had 10 errors outside of their attack against Tulsa, and were blocked 15 times. This resulted in 24 kills total for UH – the team’s lowest kill output since its second game of the season against Baylor on Aug. 28.

Marshall is one of Conference USA’s best defensive teams, with a .171 opponent hitting percentage. The Thundering Herd also ranks third in the conference in assists, kills and digs and is second in service aces.

The Cougars will have to keep an eye on outside hitter Emily Sullivan, who is 10th in C-USA in kills and second in hitting percentage, and setter Elizabeth Fleming, who is No. 2 in the conference in assists, averaging 10.99 per game.

Similar to the Cougars, East Carolina ranks near the bottom of C-USA in most offensive categories. But unlike UH, the Pirates don’t have a player in the top 20 of the conference in hitting percentage or kills.

The Cougars will therefore have to avoid points scored via blocks and service aces. UH gets blocked more than any team in the conference, and East Carolina is ranked fifth in blocks.

The Pirates also excel in services aces, ranking No. 5 in C-USA; East Carolina has three players ranked in the top 20 in service aces.

After their final homestand, the Cougars will have three road matches remaining against UTEP, Tulane and Rice to close out the season before the Conference USA Championships begin Nov. 20.

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