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Friday, September 29, 2023


Undefeated weekend keeps Cougars in the hunt

If efficiency is the name of the game, the Cougars took steps to keep themselves on the right track.

Aside from a loss in the third set of the Sunday match, the team sailed through the weekend, dispatching Connecticut in three and Rutgers in four. The Cougars moved to 7-4 and into a four-team tie for third place in American Athletic Conference standings.

“We’re doing a good job at putting the ball away when we get that opportunity,” said head coach Kaddie Platt after Sunday’s match.

The Cougars put up 22 block assists against a stumbling Huskies offense that was held below 22 points in all three sets. Redshirt sophomore outside hitter Kadi Kullerkann led the charge with 16 kills and three block assists while hitting a solid .333.

Freshman right side Sarita Mikals continued a stellar season by picking up her ninth double-double of the season on Friday along with four block assists. Mikals put up nine kills and another 13 digs, falling just short of her chance to record her 10th double-double.

“She’s done a great job,” Platt said of Mikals, who was named to her third American Freshman of the Week award. “She does such a good job being a sixth rotation player for us.”

The other key to the Cougars’ recent success has been the return of Kullerkann from her lost season last year.

“Kadi is ‘steady-eddy,’” said Platt about the Estonian’s presence on the court. “She just has great experience. She can come into a match and do great work for us. Plus, you just can’t look around a 6’4 hitter.”

Statistics aside, the team views its two wins as the most important number.

“2-0 at home this weekend is an awesome feeling,” said junior middle blocker Kaiti Waters, who recorded the best hitting percentage for the team at .412. “Our defense is improving with every single practice.”

Waters, who also put up four blocks, said the team is improving at the art of being comfortable with being uncomfortable.

“What we always say is that every single game starts 0-0, so it doesn’t matter the last game,” Waters said. “We clear our head and just start over with a score of 0-0.”

The momentum behind the win, given that only seven games are left in the season, was not lost on the team.

“This was a big win,” said junior defensive specialist Natalie Keck. “I think we did well at staying together and pulling it out. We’re in the second part of conference, and we really need to focus on getting the wins we need.”

The Cougars hit the road against undefeated conference leader Louisville on Friday before crossing back to Cincinnati on Sunday.

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