The Cougars’ solid play has continued into Conference USA action as they knocked off UTEP and Central Florida over the weekend. The team has eight wins in their last 10 games.
UH (9-8, 3-2 C-USA) swept UTEP 3-0 (25-22, 25-18, 25-15) led by Chandace Tryon’s 10 kills and seven blocks.
“We played extremely well,” head coach Molley Alvey said. “Overall, the difference is in what we’ve been doing. I think we’ve been playing a lot smarter volleyball.”
The Cougars fell behind 12-8 in game one, but rallied back to take the lead late in the set 21-20.
The score was tied at 22, but a kill and a block by Marluci Toazzi gave UH a 24-22 lead as Lucy Charuk closed the door with a kill and a win for game one.
The Cougars cruised in games two and three against the Miners, leading the second game by as much as 17-9. After falling behind 3-0 in game three, UH rallied to a 14-7 lead.
In Friday’s contest the Cougars won their first home game of the season with a 3-1 win over UCF (25-21, 25-12, 19-25, 25-18).
The Cougars were led by a monster game from Stephanie Nwachukwu. She posted a career-high 14 kills to lead the way. Nwachukwu got plenty of help as Toazzi, Charuk and Ingrida Zauere all chipped in with 12, 12 and 10 kills respectively.
“Stephanie is a young player, she’s spent some extra time coming into the gym and building a little bit of confidence,” Alvey said. “She’s getting a little bit more comfortable with the role I’ve given her on the right side, she definitely keeps building on that.”
UH dominated UCF, jumping out to a 2-0 lead after a strong 33 kills in those first two games. The Knights answered back with a great defensive third set, holding UH to a .065 hitting percentage to win game three and extend the match.
The Cougars’ great play from the first two sets showed in game four as they came out clicking on all cylinders to jump out to a comfortable 15-7 lead. The Cougars let UCF trim the lead to 17-11 after a 4-2 Knights run out of a timeout, but the Cougars kept the pace and cruised to a 25-18 match win in the fourth set.
“The fans were unbelievable for us and with our venue, they create such a great atmosphere and sense of excitement. Volleyball is such a momentum game, and a crowd really can help you gain that momentum,” Alvey said.