Coming off a 19-11 campaign last year, along with a fifth place preseason ranking in a Conference USA poll, the UH volleyball program has plenty of extra motivation.
“We know that’s nowhere near where we’re going to finish; obviously we’re expecting to finish first,” senior Stephanie Nwachukwu said. “Being that underdog always lights that fire under your belly.”
With several upperclassmen returning, the Cougars look primed and ready to be plenty competitive and eager to improve even further.
A new sight on the sidelines is new Head Coach Kaddie Platt. Platt, who joined UH after a 17-year career at Houston Baptist, brings with her new Assistant Coaches Jenny Andrew and David Hyte.
Sophomore setter, Caitlin Ogletree, appreciates Platt’s demanding demeanor.
“Our coaches are expecting so much from us,” Ogletree said. “At the moment you’re like, ‘Oh my gosh, this is so much,’ but once you’re done with practice, you realize that they believe in you. Whenever you have (coaches) believing in you and pushing you I feel like we are very capable of keeping this conference title in hand.”
If appearances act as any indicator, Coach Platt does not have any fears about her first year at UH.
“I’m a very competitive person and I’m good at building teams,” Platt said. “We will definitely be a different team today than we will be in two weeks.”
The season kicks off against Toledo on Aug. 24, with the first home game taking place Sept. 7, against UTSA. Tickets are still available for 12 more total home games this season, but they are selling fast. Home games are held at the Athletics/Alumni Center and expectations are high.
“We want to win Conference,” Platt said. “Settling for anything less than that would be disappointing. I feel like we have the talent to do it, we just have to build the right team to do that.”