A 3-1 win for the UH volleyball team against Tulane on Friday at home showcased strong offensive skills. Although a Sunday match against UTEP proved too much defensively for the Cougars as they fell 3-0, the weekend’s results left the Cougars with a 3-4 record in conference play.
Against the Green Wave, senior hitter Katie Norris tallied up her eighth double-double of the season, bringing her to a five-game streak. Along with a season-best of 24 kills, Norris helped contribute to the team’s overall .284 attack percentage and 60 kills. Fellow senior right hitter Stephanie Nwachukwu and middle blocker Chandace Tryon put in solid performances with double-digit kills of 14 and 13 respectively.
The match also produced a focused UH defense with the Cougars committing only 18 errors in 148 attempts. At the ending of the first set, which involved a scrappy defense, the Cougars kept the ball off the floor with what looked like only fingertips and elbows.
“We just had a lot of bodies being thrown at the ball,” said head coach Kaddie Platt of the improved defense effort. “What I said to them was to put the same effort we had at the end of that set, and carry it over to the next sets.”
The second and fourth sets of the Tulane match were purely academic as Houston went on prolonged and efficient scoring runs. Errors by the Tulane defense made it impossible for the Green Wave to keep up with the motivated and focused Cougar offense.
“From start to finish we fought and battled,” Norris said. “It was a really good game all the way around.”
With the streak of improved performances on both offense and defense, Norris made note of how the squad improved.
“I think we had a really rough beginning of the season, but we’ve gotten progressively better over the whole season on the court. Everybody has just gotten very comfortable in their roles and what they needed to do, and I think that’s really what’s been helping us get these wins and playing really well on both sides of the ball.”
While the match against the Miners had a less than desired ending, the Cougars’ improved defense was able to out block UTEP eight to six. A stingy UTEP defense made it difficult for the Cougars to establish much offensive momentum.
The season will continue Oct. 12 when the Cougars travel to Greenville, N.C. to take on East Carolina before returning home to face Marshall at 1 p.m. Oct. 14. at the Athletics/Alumni Center.