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Saturday, September 30, 2023


Close games propel Cougars to 1-1 start in AAC play


Snapping the Tigers’ nine-game winning streak serves as the starting point of the successful season the Cougars hope to have. Strong performers look to propel the 1-1 Cougars throughout the rest of AAC play.  |  Justin Tijerina/The Cougar

In their first conference win of the year, Houston won three out of their four sets to break Memphis’ nine-game winning streak.

The win comes off a loss against Cincinnati on Friday, where the Cougars drove a hard fight in a five-set match.

The match started off strong with Houston and Memphis going back and forth offensively, while the Cougars’ defense dominated with four team blocks to start the set.

“(In) this game we had a lot more composure; we really fought,” senior Kaiti Waters said. “I feel like on Friday we had an issue with wanting to work hard every single point, and this game you can see based of the score that we wanted to work hard, we wanted to win and we really got it.

Senior Courtney Warren totaled 25 kills, making this match her third consecutive 20-plus kill performance, while senior Natalie Keck dug 24 balls for her seventh 20-dig game of the season.

“We’re aiming for that conference championship, but we know that in the American Athletic, every single match is a dogfight,” said associate head coach Jenny Andrew.

With a 2-0 lead after 26-24 and 25-17 sets, the Cougars came out confident but fell to Memphis in the third set 25-21. Nevertheless, Houston came back to win the final set 25-17, while also finishing the match with a season high 12 blocks and 62 digs.

“When you’re rebuilding a great program into a better program, you always have those kinds of ups and downs along the way, but I think we’re getting bigger and better every single year,” Andrew said.

Player depth within the team also has a lot to do with their recent success as versatile players, and using that versatility to keep opponents on their toes.

“In this conference, this everybody is equal with everybody,” Waters said. “You go in and you never know who is going to lose, and we are right there throwing punches with everybody else.”

Sunday’s match moved Houston to 9-5 for the season, and 1-1 in the AAC. Houston will travel for their first conference away match against Tulane on Oct 1.

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