The Cougars’ five-game win streak was snapped Friday with a 3-2 loss to Conference USA foe Memphis, but they bounced back Sunday with a 3-0 sweep at UAB to split the two-game road trip.
UH (12-9, 6-3 C-USA) has won six of its last seven games and 11 of the last 14. Now a crucial homestand waits the team, with six of its final 11 regular-season games at the Athletics/Alumni Center.
“They refocused well,” head coach Molly Alvey said. “Hopefully, it was a learning (experience) of how important focusing on each and every single match is.”
In Sunday’s 3-0 (25-19, 25-20, 25-17) win over UAB, the Cougars were led by Marluci Toazzi and Stephanie Nwachukwu’s 10 and nine kills, respectively.
“I think Marluci is one of the reasons why our ball control is so good,” Alvey said. “They weren’t attacking her on the serve, and she stepped up and did a phenomenal job.”
UH would jump out to an 8-2 lead in the first game and coast to a 25-19 first-game win despite the Blazers cutting the lead to 24-19 late.
The second and third games went to the Cougars as the struggling Blazers played like their 5-15 record thus far this season. The Cougars held on to a 13-10 second-game lead for victory and a 17-13 lead in the third game to sweep UAB.
The Cougars dropped a thrilling five-set match 3-2 (25-16, 22-25, 25-18, 24-26, 15-17) to the Tigers on Friday night for their third C-USA loss this season.
“We just weren’t focused; we could not pass the ball to the target,” Alvey said. “The Memphis match was all in our control, and we just didn’t finish.”
The Cougars were led by Lucy Charuk’s 17 kills and seven blocks and Chandace Tryon’s double-double of 12 kills and 10 digs.
“Seventeen kills is great. If we could of gotten the ball to her more than we would have; we just couldn’t pass,” Alvey said. “Lucy did a good job, but when it comes down to it you got to win.”
After winning the first game, the Cougars carried momentum into the second game, taking an early 9-1 lead. The Tigers stormed back, tying it 12-12 and later 18-18, and eventually took the game.
The third game had the Cougars off to a 9-4 start, as they looked to take a 2-1 match lead. UH would keep the lead for the entire game going up 22-17 and winning 25-18.
The fourth game was critical for both teams. The Cougars jumped out to a 6-1 lead but let it slip away. The Tigers took the game with gritty play late to win the game 26-24.
The Cougars played in a fifth and deciding game for only the third time this season. The Cougars dropped to 1-2 in fifth game matches this season
The team returns home for their next two games Friday and Saturday against Tulsa and SMU — the top two teams in C-USA.
“We’re going to come in with that same intention of being focused every single practice this week.” Alvey said.