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Saturday, September 30, 2023


UH volleyball prepares for two weekend conference tests

VB 2 - Justin Tijerina

UH is 2-0 in American Athletic Conference play. | Justin Tijerina/The Daily Cougar

With positive vibes from a 2-0 beginning to conference play, UH returns home after victories against Rutgers and Connecticut.

The two-state swing saw the team click on offense and defense, sweeping Rutgers and dispatching Connecticut in five, and emerge as one of four unbeaten teams in the American Athletic Conference, bringing UH’s overall record to 9-7.

Now home to face Cincinnati on Friday and Louisville on Sunday, the team is confident going into its Whiteout, a promotional event to encourage fans to wear white to the pair of home games. Promotions notwithstanding, the team isn’t lacking for energy.

“It’s so important,” said sophomore middle blocker Emily Howard. “It gives you confidence that you’re just ready to go into each game, because you have the tools to do it. It’s a good feeling.”

The team is feeding on its solid conference start and the confidence that comes with it as the season officially begins with conference play.

“It’s really important coming into this new conference. We thought it was going to be really tough, and it is really tough,” said junior defensive specialist Natalie Keck. “But I think other teams might be underestimating us, so 2-0 is a good start and I think it’s showing some of the other teams that we aren’t to be messed around with.”

The team is already mindful of the importance of conference games, which are exemplified by changes to the season and post-season structure. With no end-of-the-season tournament to decide NCAA tournament berths, the pressure comes now in the form of a round-robin system that awards a bid in the NCAA tournament to the team with the best conference record.

“It’s really big, because after Flo Hyman (Tournament), you’d think we were going to start out slow in conference,” Keck said. “Forget about preseason — we have conference right now, and that’s what counts and it’s what will take us to the NCAA tournament.”

For her part, head coach Kaddie Platt sees something more important than just the record.

“I think it’s more important that we won two games on the road. I think that’s a more important accomplishment,” Platt said, stressing the team’s advancements through practice since their sluggish start at the Flo Hyman tournament.

“We show improvements every day and I think that’s just part of the process. Teams will always be trying to find your weaknesses and what you do different. You have to adjust to those and keep them in your repertoire.”

The match against Cincinnati will be at 7 p.m. Oct. 4 at the Athletics/Alumni Center.


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