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Tuesday, September 29, 2020


Volleyball squad aims for wins in Utah

The Cougars are back on the road at the BYU Molten Classic in Provo, Utah for tonight’s matchup against Wichita

Stephanie Nwachukwu (3) and the Cougars hope a trip to Utah will bring an improved performance. | Pauline Alderete/The Daily Cougar

State, followed by a doubleheader Saturday against host team BYU and Loyola Marymount.

UH (1-5) heads into its third tournament to start the season after a tough 0-3 finish at the Houston Invitational.

“I think were on track; we’ve gotten better each weekend,” head coach Molly Alvey said. “We’re improving, we’re playing teams that are very strong competition, so as long as we’re getting better and doing the things that we need to do to get better for conference, then we’re right on track.”

Wichita State (3-2) is coming off a 3-1 loss to Portland on Sept. 4, but has had six consecutive 25-win seasons. The Shockers are an offensive-minded team.

“Our defense has done a fabulous job,” Alvey said. “We have to continue to be disciplined, which is what we talk about a lot. Knowing what our responsibilities are, and just paying attention to detail … I expect us to continue doing that.”

Saturday’s twin bill for UH includes an afternoon matchup with BYU (2-4) and an evening showdown with Loyola Marymount (4-2).

Each of BYU’s wins this season has come in five sets. Like UH, BYU has faced a tough road with an earlier matchup against then-No. 6 Illinois.

Christie Carpenter leads BYU with 76 kills, averaging nearly three per set. Stephanie Snow and Nicole Warner have 55 and 50 kills, respectively.

Loyola Marymount has won four of five matches following a season-opening 3-0 loss to USC on Sept. 4. The Lions played at the Varney’s Kansas State Invitational, closing the tournament with a 3-0 loss to Oral Roberts. Jasmine Rankins leads the Lions with 85 kills.

“It’s not a winnable weekend, but it’s a very difficult weekend,” Alvey said. “Wichita State is a top 25 program. BYU just took a set off No. 7 Nebraska last weekend, and Loyola Marymount is a very good team (with) a solid fast offense.

“It’s another weekend, just like the one we came off of.”

Junior middle blocker Lucy Charuk leads the Cougars with 69 kills. She has also been named to back to back all-tournament teams to begin the season.

“Without a doubt Lucy is important to the team, Alvey said. “I think there’s things that she needs to continue to get better at in her blocking game to help the team to continue to get better.”

UH will open Conference USA play against Rice on Sept. 21.

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