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Friday, September 21, 2018

Sports

Volleyball determined to capitalize on momentum


Fiona Legesse/The Cougar

After going 8-12 in 2017, the Cougars have been working hard in the offseason to push into the top half of the conference.

Though that record may not seem great, it was a huge improvement over the 0-20 record the team had on the 2016 season.

With positive momentum behind the team, the Cougars want to start the season where they left off and build on the success.

“It’s always good to create momentum throughout the season,” said junior Megan Duncan. “If we start off strong, it will definitely help us throughout more games as we go through preseason and season.”

With her fifth and final season approaching, redshirt senior Chenelle Walker said the team is focused on making steady improvements.

Walker said that the team needs to keep its work ethic consistent and work hard to improve “one percent better every day.”

The mentality of day-by-day success is one of the leading principles of seventh-year head coach Kaddie Platt.

Getting better bit by bit could be what pushes the Cougars over the edge to become a conference contender.

The Cougars had 12 losses in American conference games last season, but three of those losses were in five set matches and another four in four sets.

Platt credits the team’s aggressiveness for the close games, which she believes will propel the team to success along with an evenly distributed attack and defense.

As a hitter, Duncan spent much of her offseason focusing on the attack, as well as serving and receiving.

Walker said she spent time improving her blocking, finishing and leadership in the offseason.
“Being a super senior now, a fifth year, it’s given me an opportunity to lead and to learn how to serve others better,” Walker said.

The Cougars take the court for its first tournament against Murray State, New Orleans and Nebraska-Omaha starting Friday, Aug. 24 at the University of New Orleans Invitational.

UH will use these matches to set the tempo for the season and mesh four new freshmen into the squad.

The Cougars will compete in three other tournaments, the Sawyer Camillo Memorial Classic, the Flo Hyman Collegiate Cup and the Robert Morris Sheraton Invitational before starting conference play at home against Temple Sept. 21.

One match Walker and Duncan are looking forward to is against SMU, which Duncan called the team’s biggest rival.

Although the Mustangs were victorious in both meetings last season, the game in Houston went to a full five sets.

“It was a bit of a heartbreaker at first, but I know we can get them this year,” Duncan said.
The two will meet in Dallas Oct. 5 and again in Houston in the regular season finale Nov. 21.

The Cougars’ first home game is Tuesday, Aug. 28 at 7 p.m. against Prairie View A&M at the Athletics and Alumni Center.

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