Michael Calderon" />
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Wednesday, October 4, 2023


Cougars forced to weigh season performance

At the end of another back-and-forth battle, the SMU Mustangs stomped out a last-minute rally past the Cougars to hand Houston its second loss of the weekend and push it further below .500.


Sophomore middle blocker Hunter Wise has been a big part of the Cougars’ success this season but has also seen shortcomings. UH currently sits at 3-8 in conference play and 11-12 overall.  |  Justin Tijerina/The Cougar

The ball did not bounce in UH’s favor at all this past weekend as they dropped their second game in a row. After losing on Halloween night to Tulsa, the team wasn’t able to establish anything against their opponent, losing 0-3 (24-26, 18-25, 23-25).

“The last points of a set are always important, and the team put up a good effort there at the end, but it just wasn’t enough,” said junior outside hitter Kadi Kullerkann.

“We can’t let them get ahead of us the way they did.”

Even though the stout Mustang defense left few holes for the Cougars to exploit, Kullerkann still came away with her 24th consecutive double-digit kill game. She led the Cougars with 15 kills, six digs and a block on the afternoon.

However, the senior star of the team was not satisfied.

“I’m happy about the stats, but we need wins more,’’ Kullerkann said. “We have to stay focused on that right now.”

While she does lead the team with 495 kills and a .302 average on the season, Kullerkann knows that this is a team game, and their success depends on a group effort.

“My team relies on me a lot, but at the same time, I owe a lot of credit to them for that,” the hitter said.

Natalie Keck also collected some noteworthy stats, moving up to second in school history for career digs, after notching 20 against SMU. Currently sitting at 1,931, she is only 69 away from her 2,000th career dig.

“It means a lot, second all-time is awesome. When I think about my four years here, and what I have been able to do, it is fantastic,” Keck said.

Statistics mean little without the wins to go with them, and this Cougar volleyball team finds itself on the wrong side of the .500-win mark after this weekend.

With eight games left to play on the season, five of which are on the road, the team must start stacking wins together.

“It’s a tough position, but we just need to keep the same attitude and same mentality and come out and play tough,” Keck said of the team’s approach.

Regardless of the difficult challenge, the Cougars look to be ready.

“We have to come out here every game and play hard and execute,” Kullerkann said.

“We can’t depend on the opponent  it’s on us to go out and play our best regardless of who it is and make a push here.”

The Cougars will get their first chance to make a push tonight at 7 p.m. as they host the Tulane Green Wave (5-19, 3-9) at the Athletics/Alumni Center.

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