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Wednesday, October 4, 2023


Volleyball team bounces back after loss to beat SMU

The Cougars’ three-game home winning streak came to an end Friday night with a 3-1 loss to Conference USA leader

After a loss to Tulsa and a win against SMU last weekend, the Cougars sit at fourth place in Conference USA. | Brianna Leigh Morrison/The Daily Cougar

Tulsa, but bounced back Saturday night with an impressive 3-1 win against SMU.

UH had four players with double figure kills in the win, led Lucy Charuk’s 17 kills and seven blocks. Stephanie Nwachukwu chipped in with 15 kills in the 3-1 (26-24, 25-21, 21-25, 28-26).

“Two matches back-to-back this late in October is very difficult to bounce back,” head coach Molley Alvey said. “It goes to show that we’ve been working a lot on our mental aspect of the game.”

A thrilling first set was back-and-forth, tying at 12-12. SMU built a 19-14 lead, but the Cougars fought back to take a 22-21 lead. SMU went back ahead 24-22; the Cougars called a timeout and finished the match by scoring four straight huge points to win game one 26-24.

The Cougars had a 19-16 lead in game two, but SMU surged back to make it a 21-21 game. The Cougars closed out the game on a 4-0 run to take a 2-0 match lead.

“To be able to keep your composure, do what you need to do as an individual so that it contributes to the team, we had everybody step up,” Alvey said.

SMU would win game three to force a fourth set. The Cougars and SMU were tied 24-24 in the fourth game. It went to extra points and was evened up at 25-25 then 26-26. The Cougars hung on with two huge points at the end to win the set 28-26 and the match.

“I think it was absolutely huge to that we finished that match in four (sets),” Alvey said.

Tulsa extended its win streak to 19 games Friday with a 3-1 (25-23, 22-25, 16-25, 19-25) win over the Cougars to stay undefeated in C-USA.

“I thought we had glimpses of brilliance,” Alvey said. “The first two sets were absolutely phenomenal volleyball on both sides. No matter what aspect of the game, we have to find a way to react and respond.”

Despite a first game win, UH dropped the next three games and the match against a tough Golden Hurricane team led by Tyler Henderson’s game-high 26 kills.

The Cougars’ balanced attack was led by Charuk, Nwachukwu and Chandace Tryon who posted 13, 12 and 10 kills respectively.

“Lucy (Charuk) is really letting her personality show a little bit more,” Alvey said.

“It means that much more to them to the team when someone in that role really shows their passion.”

The first game had the Cougars in a 14-14 tie after trailing early 3-1. The Cougars came back strong to take a 20-18 lead, and hung on to a 25-23 first set game.

The second through fourth games weren’t the same result for the Cougars, as Tulsa proved why they are the top team in C-USA. The Cougars held a slim 13-12 lead in game two, but a late 7-3 Tulsa run gave them the set win 25-22.

Tulsa carried the momentum from game two to a 25-16 game win and a 2-1 match lead heading into set four.

The fourth set was all Tulsa again, as they lead the majority of the game. UH crept back in to the game trailing only 20-18. The Golden Hurricane answered the Houston run with a 5-1 to end the set and match, giving Tulsa a 3-1 win.

UH is back on the road for their next two games at Marshall Oct.29, and at East Carolina on Oct 31. After the trip the team will return with a four-game homestand between Nov. 5. and Nov. 14.

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