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Saturday, March 25, 2023


Roundtable: Picking volleyball’s MVP so far

Sophomore middle blocker Isabel Theut has played in 54 of 64 sets for the Cougars. | Kathryn Lenihan/The Cougar

Sophomore middle blocker Isabel Theut (No. 17) has played in 54 of 64 sets for the UH volleyball. | Kathryn Lenihan/The Cougar

With its American Athletic Conference schedule set to begin Friday night against SMU at the Fertitta Center, it’s time to see which players will step up to lead Houston.

Multiple players shown out for the Cougars this season, and a select number deserve being named UH’s most valuable player so far this season.

The Cougar’s sports staff shared who they thought is Houston’s MVP heading into AAC competition:

Katie Karbo – Sports editor Jhair Romero

Many players have stood out for the Cougars in head coach David Rehr’s first season, but for me, the MVP is clear — senior defensive specialist and libero Katie Karbo.

The Azle native is top-five in three of the five major statistical categories for Houston, including a No. 1 spot in digs with 328.

Junior setter Abby Irvine is the next closest on the team with 143.

Karbo recently reached a milestone after surpassing the 2,000-dig mark in her collegiate career, becoming only the third player in Houston history to do so.

If that weren’t enough to convince you, the 5-foot-5-inch Karbo earned All-Tournament honors Sept. 14 after being named Best Defender at the Baylor Invitational in Waco.

Against the No. 5 Bears, Karbo led the team with 18 digs in the match in a losing effort that saw the Cougars almost take down their opponent in four sets.

Houston still has a lot of season to play, but Karbo has been the best of the Cougars.

Isabel Theut – Staff writer Armando Yanez 

Sophomore middle blocker Isabel Theut has been the spark the Cougars have been looking for game-in and game-out, and her presence is felt every time she steps on the court.

Theut has played in 54 of 64 sets this season for the Cougars, sitting third on the team in kills with 112. She also averages 2.07 kills per set.

The sophomore has been a force on defense, recording 39 blocks so far this season, which ranks second on the team behind freshman middle blocker Rachel Tullos’ 64.

The Columbus native has also contributed 139.5 points for the Cougars, third on the team behind freshman outside hitter Abbie Jackson’s 235.5 and senior outside hitter Megan Duncan’s 145.0

Her all-around game, stats and presence on the court prove why she has been the MVP for the Cougars so far this season.

Abby Irvine – Staff Writer Andy Yanez

Irvine has made a strong impact on both offense and defense, which has separated her as the most valuable player on the team.

Irvine leads the Cougars in assists on the season with 545. As a comparison, the second best on the team, Karbo, has only 59 assists.

The Willis native excels at setting up her teammates to deliver kills, but her impact does not end there for the Cougars. Irvine’s presence on defense also makes a difference for UH.

Irvine is second on the team in digs with 143, and she is also second on the team in service aces with 14.

Her defensive stats do not end there, as she is also fifth for the Cougars in blocks with 15.

Irvine’s ability to keep the ball in play for Houston while also limiting opposing teams from even being able to pass the ball makes her an irreplaceable talent.

Much like a Swiss Army knife, Irvine does a little bit of everything for the team. She is in the top five of four different major statistical categories for the Cougars, which is why she is the MVP heading into conference play.

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