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Friday, November 24, 2017

Sports

Cougars fail to rally back, fall 3-1


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The Cougars fell to 0-9 in conference play when they fell to the Tulane Green Wave Wednesday night. | Justin Cross/The Cougar

The volleyball team’s struggles continued Wednesday as they fell to the Tulane University Green Wave 3-1 (19-25, 18-25, 27-25, 12-25) at the Athletics/Alumni Center

In a match that featured 24 ties and 9 lead changes, the Green Wave (13-8, 5-4) defense proved to be too much for the Cougars, who hit just .159 in the match with 22 attack errors.

Freshman outside hitter/right side Faith Squier led all Cougars with 15 kills on 44 total attacks, while junior outside hitter Sarah Afflerbaugh continued her strong season, adding 12 kills on .294 hitting.

“Faith, taking 44 swings in 4 sets and Sarah hitting almost .300 is really good for our outsides,” Head coach Kaddie Platt said. “Our problem is our defensive side of the game where they out digged us by 10.”

Afflerbaugh added a team-high 16 blocks for her third double-double of the season while freshman libero Katie Karbo added 15 of the 70 total Cougar digs.

After trailing through most of the first two sets, the Cougars rallied in the third behind Squier’s six kills. The Cougars eventually won the back-and-forth set 27-25 when two straight Green Wave attacks failed to hit their mark.

The Cougars were unable to complete the comeback as Tulane opened the decisive fourth set on a 10-0 run before securing the 25-12 victory.

“Playing at a high level for a long period is something we have to get better at,” Platt said. “We do a lot of scrappy things here and there that keeps us in place to keep the ball off the floor but we’ve got to be able to terminate in those transitions.”

Momentum is vital in the game because teams go on long runs if they get in rhythm with their offense. A team’s ability to knock an opponent out of rhythm can be just as important as establishing their own.

There are many ways for a coach to try to knock an opponent off balance, from substitutions to changing the play setup to calling timeouts.

“It’s hard cause we’re running a 6-2 rotation,” Platt said. “You have 15 subs and generally if everything is going right in the systems that we want you’re at 14 at the end of the set, so you have one to play with. We took that chance, putting Guz (senior defensive specialist Marisa Guzman) in late and she didn’t really execute like she’s capable of doing, but that’s all you can do.”

The Cougars will look to break out of their slump over the weekend as they travel to the University of Memphis for a matchup Friday night.

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