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Monday, December 10, 2018

Sports

Volleyball welcomed home by tough loss to Tulsa


Fiona Legesse/The Cougar

After a disappointing road trip, Houston came out swinging against Tulsa but fell in three sets.

The teams’ offenses had many similarities, but Tulsa’s emphasis on defense gave it the advantage.

The Golden Hurricanes seemed to know all the Cougars’ moves from the start. It had two net defenders waiting for incoming kills and a defender behind the front line for Houston’s signature fake tips.

Tulsa boasted heavy hitters and kept Houston trying until its last breath to keep the ball in play. Defensively, the Cougars offered up predictable bumps and sets over the net just to stay in the game.

However, the Cougars were able to comeback in the first set and gave Tulsa a run for its money by closing the gap before losing the set 23-25.

The second set was the same story but a different chapter. Houston crumbled under Tulsa’s strong defense with a “just get the ball over the net” mentality almost every set.

With that said, the Cougars’ backcourt players, like junior Abby Giles, junior Katie Karbo and redshirt sophomore Kylie Napoleon to name a few, should be commended for their hustle to keep the ball in play.

That hustle rallied the Cougars to overcome an eight-point deficit and hold the lead, though not for long.

Tulsa, however, seemed to master a reverse fake kill or tip. Instead of the hitter next to the setter being the fake-out playmaker, the outside hitter would run up with a fake kill and the setter would gently set the ball to the hitter a foot away for an easy score.

With this advanced version of the Cougars’ offense, the Hurricanes showed how much deeper and more complex its offense could be as it took the second set 22-25.

With the game on the line, the team brought out all its tricks and talents for the third set. The Cougars began building coordinated offensive possessions and playing the best brand of volleyball seen in the whole game.

The Cougars’ hitters began executing heavily contested kills by aiming for the sides of the net, which defenders block nearest to the boundary line, and had Tulsa unwillingly nicking the volleyball out of bounds.

Even with this excellent offense, it was still hurricane season with the Cougars trailing by five the whole set, which concluded with a harsh score of 18-25 and Tulsa emerging as the victor.

Houston’s next game is against 9-10 Wichita State Sunday at the Athletics and Alumni Center at 1 p.m.

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