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Sunday, September 24, 2023


Head coach looking to get ‘one percent better every day’

Kaddie Platt

Head coach Kaddie Platt is entering her fourth season at Houston and she said she feels more comfortable with the team than ever. | Bryce Dodds/The Cougar

For head women’s volleyball coach Kaddie Platt, the start of training camp couldn’t come soon enough.

“You’re waiting for it and waiting for it, and then it comes, and you’re pretty excited about getting one percent better every day,” Platt said. “That’s where we really want to be all the time: training.”

Following a strong opening last season, the Cougars faltered a bit after entering conference play, going just 6-14 against American Athletic Conference foes.

But for Platt, despite some difficult seasons, coming to UH wasn’t about instant success; it was about setting a strong foundation to compete at the highest level.

“We’re really just thinking of building a program,” Platt said. “In volleyball, you’re recruiting four years out, so this year is really my first recruiting class…I feel like this year we have cohesiveness in the locker room, and they’ve bought into what we’re trying to accomplish here.”

Platt came from an established program at Houston Baptist University, which she elevated to a perennial top five program in the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletes, to a team that saw a rapid turnover rate for its staff.

“When I took this job, you’re talking three coaches within four years,” Platt said. “That does a terrible job for your recruiting…there’s no continuity there.”

Platt, going on her fourth year, feels she has finally established a good standard for the program going forward.

“We’re trying to build on the concepts of we have to work hard and we have get better every year,” Platt said. “These are all my kids, but this is the first year that it’s my locker room.”

Despite this finally being ‘her team’, Platt also knows that this team sustained losses in key areas with a number of outgoing players, but has confidence in her group of seniors to help the team.

“This is their year, where they have more experience than anyone else,” Platt said.

“With that, there’s just the natural tendency to step forward.”

For seniors Sophie Paine and Olivia O’Dell, a leadership role has been something they’ve been building to in their time at Houston, and a natural step forward for them.

“We’re both pretty ready for it,” Paine said. “As a senior you know that you’re going to have to take on more responsibility.”

The team added five players to the roster this off-season, between incoming freshman and transfer students, and with the changes in the roster, Platt sees a slight change in the mentality of the team as well.

“I think they have a bit more focus,” Platt said. “When there is the stress of getting something done, there is laughter that relaxes everybody…but I do feel like they’re a bit more focused to doing things with detail and excellence.”

O’Dell also sees a shift in the team’s attitude this season, but knows that the team has also retained their sense of humor.

“After we had that Navy Seal training, we implemented a lot of what we learned there into our practices,” O’Dell said. “We’re focusing on accountability, making sure people are doing the right thing, with the teammates telling them rather than the coaches, so it’s been a bit more serious in that sense, but we still have fun.”

Paine said that the identity of this team is focused in a pursuit of greatness, with a tenacity that will be sure to serve the team well in the coming season.

“I think the team this year wants to be known for being really competitive and being really fierce,” Paine said. “That’s what we want to be known for.”

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