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Wednesday, December 1, 2021

Sports

Cougars focus on building camaraderie to start season


UH has made some key commitments that they hope will result in the short and long-term progress of the program.

The team finished last season with an 18-15 overall record and 10-8 in conference play. Head coach Kaddie Platt emphasizes their desire to improve and become a great team.

“To achieve that level of play, our plan is to focus on being disciplined on our defense and scoring efficiently,” Platt said. “We’ll have a strong emphasis on the serve and pass game and also focus on scoring mentally.”

The volleyball team has quite a few new players, all of whom Platt believes will help the team.

Incoming freshman include Keandra “Keke” McCardell, a setter expected to come in right away and compete for a starting position to be an impact player, Platt said. Madison Kucera is a powerful outside hitter. Chenelle Walker is a middle blocker — an athletic jumper and a great blocker. Bryanna Lawrence is a petite outside hitter with an athletic jump and Platt said she believes Lawrence will help out right away with her competitiveness.

Chyla Thomas is another transfer player that will add good size to Houston’s front row, as she stands at 6-foot-3. She has a solid blocking presence at the net and is expected to contribute right away.

Although there are a lot of new faces, camaraderie is a focal point with this team, as they have been building a team bond since the second session of summer school through team training, said newly promoted associate coach Jenny Andrew.

“We have a great bunch of returners and they’ve done a great job of instilling the culture that we’re trying to do here and building the program,” Andrew said. “The newcomers are jumping right into that, (bonding) through team meals.”

Andrew said she believes the team is already going to have a great relationship going into the season, coupled with the work ethic that has already been instilled with the help of their strength and conditioning coach.

Everyone arrived early at the beginning of the second session of summer school to train together as a team. They were actually building team bonding for those five weeks before the coaching staff even started with the team in preseason.

Having those relationships prior to preseason is beneficial, and almost vital to developing team chemistry.

“What becomes a good team are communication, trust and effort,” Platt said. “Setting a standard and getting on the same page.”

UH Volleyball is set to wrap up their preseason training camp with an intrasquad scrimmage on Saturday at 1:30 p.m., a week before they open against Lamar prior to the football team’s home opener.

The Cougars plan to make some noise throughout their athletics programs, and volleyball hopes their work ethic gives them a chance to open more eyes to Houston’s Volleyball program.

“We want to outwork our opponents and … we want to out-prepare our opponents,” Platt said. “So keeping it general and working on the process that it takes to win matches are our focus.”

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