Volleyball team falls to Rice in C-USA opener
The Conference USA opener between rivals UH and Rice tipped off Tuesday night with the Owls sweeping the
Cougars 3-0, halting the Cougars’ five-game win streak.
UH (6-7, 0-1) could not overtake Rice (6-7, 1-0), which finished with a 45-32 kills advantage.
“I thought we were really good at some points and really bad at others. I think, overall, it really comes down to kills,” head coach Molly Alvey said. “They killed us 45-32, and you can’t beat anybody with those stats.”
The third set was pivotal for the Cougars after falling behind two sets to none. They came out hungry, taking leads of 7-4 and then 12-8 to prompt a Rice timeout.
The Owls surged back, scoring seven consecutive points to steal a 15-12 momentum-swinging lead.
After the 7-0 Rice run, the Cougars answered with a 6-3 run of their own, tying the game 18-18. The Owls put together a 6-2 run and held a 23-20 lead as the Cougars were trying to avoid a sweep. Rice finished strong, scoring four of the final five points and sweeping the Cougars by taking the third set 25-21.
“It is interesting because I think a lot of our mistakes came at the end of the third set,” Alvey said. “Basically the game of volleyball comes down to who makes the least amount of mistakes. That’s too many errors at the end of the game.”
Rice carried momentum after winning the first set. The Owls took a 15-12 lead after the score was tied 12-12. UH called a timeout, but the Owls surged on.
The Owls kept flying, going on an 11-4 run to take a comfortable 23-16 lead and make Alvey burn another timeout. Rice stood strong, winning the second set 25-20, despite the Cougars scoring four of the last six points.
An even first set went back and forth as Rice scored three straight points to make it 24-22 as the Cougars were forced into their second timeout of the set. Rice closed the door to win the set, 25-23. UH made it a one-point match at 24-23, but McCord’s eight kills in the first set proved to be the difference.
“I though they served extremely well,” Alvey said. “They ran their middles pretty well, and they just played a pretty solid and consistent game.”
Lucy Charuk led the team with nine kills and five blocks. Chandace Tryon cooled off a bit, chipping in with eight kills, five of which were in the first set.
“Chandace hit .292, which was the highest hitting percentage on the team; she just needed a few more kills,” Alvey said.
The Owls were led by setter Ashleigh McCord, who recorded a double-double with 13 kills and 14 digs.
UH looks to bounce back as C-USA action continues Saturday and Sunday with back-to-back noon games at Tulane. The Cougars return home Oct.1 to face Central Florida.
“We will be fine, we will be totally fine,” Alvey said. “I have no problem with us taking a loss. We will be OK.”