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Saturday, June 10, 2023


Cougars get swept up by Golden Hurricane, slide to third

The Cougars were swept by first-place Tulsa and fell to 10-7 in Conference USA play. The loss dropped the Cougars into a tie with Alabama-Birmingham for third place in the conference. | Catherine Lara/The Daily Cougar

The Cougars fell to first-place Tulsa in three sets (21-25, 20-25, 21-25) at the Athletics/Alumni Center Sunday.

The loss marks UH’s (17-10, 10-7) third loss in four attempts and put the Cougars in a tie with Alabama-Birmingham for third place in C-USA.

“Until we learn how to error manage a little better and pull up with the big plays when we need them, we’ll continue to fall short,” head coach Molly Alvey said.

“That’s a reflection of a very good team. You can get away with some of those errors against some teams. With good teams, top thirty teams like Tulsa, you can’t have errors.”

Houston traded points with the Golden Hurricane to start the match, battling C-USA’s top offense to a 12-12 tie in the first set.

Senior middle blocker Lucy Charuk led the offensive attack for the Cougars, racking three kills in the early stages of the match.

Tulsa inched ahead with a kill from outside hitter Diana Silva to give the Golden Hurricane a three-point lead at 20-17. After a timeout from Alvey, Tulsa’s hitters came alive and took the set, 25-21, on a 5-3 run.

“Things that we’ve been able to get away with, as far as point runs, we weren’t able to get away with tonight,” Alvey said. “Tulsa’s great at just keeping the ball in the play — keeping the ball alive by digging, by swinging in play, and they’re just a great team.”

After dropping the second set, UH’s hitters caught fire to start the third. The Cougars reeled off a 7-2 run to ignite the crowd and force Tulsa head coach Steven McRoberts into a timeout.

Out of the break, the Golden Hurricane settled into the third set, clawing back to take a 10-9 lead. With the Cougar frontline committing several hitting and passing errors, Tulsa rallied to a 25-21 set win.

With the victory, Tulsa improves to 16-1 in C-USA play.

The Cougars hit the road on Thursday for their final away matches of the season against Southern Miss. and Tulane.

UH will welcome cross-town rival Rice to the Athletics/Alumni Center on Nov. 23 for its C-USA closer.

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