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Monday, December 17, 2018

Sports

Volleyball drops conference opener against Temple


Junior Megan Duncan (right) asserted her skill against Temple and led the team with 11 kills. She leads the team with 196 kills this season. | Samuel Loveday/The Cougar

Houston went out fighting in the conference opener against Temple, which ended in a nail-biting fifth set that Houston lost 13-15.

While both teams were firing on all cylinders in the fifth set, it was a roller coaster of highs and lows throughout the game.

The Cougars came out the gate with a strong emphasis on finesse. The team had multiple strikers set up fake strikes just to catch the opponent off guard with a clean tip or floater for an easy point.

While it was an effective form of offense, Houston needed more time to grease its offensive machine against Temple’s strong fundamentals.

The Cougars even went without the team’s libero for much of the set to focus on offense, but the set ended with a 20-25 loss.

In the second set with the backbone of Houston’s defense, junior libero Katie Karbo, back in the game, the offense was able to focus on its finesse style of play.

Because of that, the second set was a completely different story. With Houston’s gears all oiled up, the team began executing multiple fake-out spikes with successful tips or an occasional kill to show who was in charge.

The offense in the second set saw redshirt senior Chenelle Walker execute multiple kills around multiple net defenders. Houston’s confidence grew in the third set thanks to a blowout 25-19 second set.

With the Cougars’ offense back on track, the team upped its defense and pushed the Owls onto the back foot.

With freshmen Alexis Cheatum and Kendall Haywood on fire at the net with block after block, Temple had to rethink its game plan and decided to copy Houston’s winning brand of volleyball.

Temple was unable to adjust and execute the style effectively in the third set and gave Houston the win 25-19.

Houston dominated the fourth set, gained a sturdy lead of 21-14 and looked to close out the game. But in a turn of events Temple rallied a comeback to end the fourth set with a 26-28 victory.

Both teams came out the gate of the fifth set with guns blazing, but Temple’s comeback in the fourth kept the team’s confidence at an all-time high and propelled it over the Cougars.

While it was a disappointing loss for Houston fans, the team showed it is a force to be reckoned with. The Cougars have a chance at redemption Sunday at 11 a.m. against UCONN at the Athletics and Alumni Center.

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