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Saturday, September 30, 2023


UH picks up two wins on the road

Having lost two of their last three road games, the Cougars entered the UK Invitational on Friday looking to silence their doubters and prove they are not just a home court team.

UH (6-3) finished the weekend winning two out of their three matches at Kentucky, claiming the last contest Saturday against Loyola Marymount in a decisive three sets (25-20, 25-23, 25-20).

“I think we played a fairly well-rounded tournament,” head coach Molly Alvey said.

“We controlled the middle. Our hitting was great. Winning on the road is tough. It’s something we need to all come together for.”

The Cougars opened the tournament Friday against West Virginia, and matched the Mountaineers at a set apiece through two sets.

Coming out of the break, outside hitter Ingrida Zauere caught fire quickly, and led the offensive push for UH. The Cougars would race to a 7-0 third set lead on the play of Zauere and senior middle blocker Lucy Charuk.

With three players racking double-digit kills, UH would make quick work of West Virginia after the dropped set, ultimately wrapping up the match in four sets (25-20, 20-25, 25-19, 25-18).

Zauere would finish with a game high of 15 digs and 14 kills.

“Ingrida came up really big that game,” Alvey said. “She’s gotten off to a few slow starts this year, and that’s something we’ve talked about. But I think she did a great job this weekend.”

After coming out strong against the Mountaineers, the Cougar offense could not recover against the Wildcat front line Saturday.

UH battled Kentucky to a 25-25 standstill in the first set led by the play of junior Stephanie Nwachukwu, but could not overcome the UK offense who won the set 26-28.

After a gritty effort in the first two sets, UH would drop the match to Kentucky in four (26-28, 25-15, 20-25, 17-25).

“I thought we played pretty decent for such a quick turnaround Saturday morning,” Alvey said.

“Stephanie played great, hitting about .350 percent, but it’s difficult to recover from making errors at the end of sets.”

On short rest, Nwachukwu’s play kept the offense energized against the fresher Wildcat squad.

Nwachukwu would match a career high with 15 kills, eight of them coming in the first set.

After claiming two of out three matches in Kentucky, the Cougars will return home with a 6-3 record Tuesday to face Lamar.

The homecoming will mark UH’s first match at home in nearly two weeks.

The Cardinals enter the matchup on a nine-game losing streak, with their most recent defeats coming against Baylor and UTEP at the MCM Elegante’ Invitational.

First serve is set for 7 p.m. at the Athletics/Alumni Center.

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