Volleyball team gets 1 out of 3 in Austin
The Cougars kicked off the 2010 volleyball campaign under the direction of new head coach Molly Alvey at the Austin Invitational with a 3-1 win against McNeese State, sandwiched between two 3-0 defeats at the hands of No.3 Texas Saturday night and TCU Friday afternoon.
The Longhorns proved a tough opponent in the 3-0 win (25-19, 25-15 and 25-18) Saturday night while flexing their muscles, but Houston took away some positives after the match.
“There were a lot of positives (in the loss to Texas). One, I think we competed extremely well, we played them well point for point, which is what you have to do against good teams,” Alvey said.
Junior Lucy Charuk’s solid tournament garnered her a selection to the All-Tournament Team highlighted by a 24-kill game in the Cougars win against McNeese State.
“I thought Lucy played awesome. Our system is really geared towards the middle. I thought one thing that Lucy has 100 percent improved on is making herself available every single opportunity,” Alvey said.
Houston gave it all they had in the third set against the Longhorns, taking a 10-8 lead despite dropping the first two games. Texas held their ground and tied it at 14-14 as the teams exchanged points until it was 18-18 with the Cougars staying alive. Texas finished strong with seven consecutive points to close out the match, and went on to win the Burnt Orange Invitational as the host team.
In Friday’s matches, Houston won their first game of the season against McNeese State 3-1(28-26, 25-17, 21-25, 25-16) led by Charuk’s 24 kills. Defensive specialist Amanda Carson had a huge match with 33 digs and UT-San Antonio transfer Amber Brooks notched 56 assists.
“We dropped the TCU game and moved directly forward to McNeese (State) and we won,” Alvey said. “What’s more important than the end of the first one is that we bounce back after a loss and are able to perform.”
McNeese State proved to be a difficult opponent for UH on the second half of the doubleheader, as the first set went into deuce with the Cougars surviving 28-26. Stephanie Nwachukwu had six kills in that winning set, finishing with nine kills in the match.
Houston went up 2-0 against McNeese State, gave up the third set losing 25-21, but made sure to get the victory in the fourth and deciding set with a 25-16 win.
“I was definitely very pleased with Stephanie Nwachukwu. She is a young player. I thought for being so young she had a good weekend,” Alvey said. “Regardless (if we) win, lose or draw, we got to get better and I think Stephanie did a nice job of that.”
In the tournament and season opener Friday afternoon, Alvey made her coaching debut as Houston played three tough sets, dropping the match to TCU 3-0 (25-18, 25-23, and 25-17). Amber Brooks, Christine Pinder and Alex Edwards all made their first career starts.
Houston led the match with Charuk’s eight kills, while Brooks chipped in with 18 assists. The Cougars played fairly well in the season opener against the TCU Horned Frogs, but more importantly were able to bounce back and beat McNeese State later that day.
“Right away we build on what we did this weekend at practice, but we also say this past weekend is over,” Alvey said. “We take what we did well and we take what we didn’t do well and learn from it and try to get better.”
The Cougars return home this weekend for the Houston Invitational to take on out-of-conference foes Oklahoma, Tennessee and Florida State in the home opener Sept. 3-4 in the Athletics Alumni Center.