Cougar postseason dream squashed by 3-2 loss to Tulane
The Cougars’ season came to an end after a tough-fought 3-2 loss against the Green Wave in Orlando, Florida on Friday afternoon.
Houston and Tulane met for the third time this year after splitting the wins of their two previous encounters. The AAC quarterfinals rubber match turned out to be a competitive battle between two evenly matched teams.
The first set of the game began with both teams taking turns to score, but the Green Wave took control of the set toward the middle as they went on a 4-0 scoring run, which gave them a 19-12 lead and proved to be the difference in the set.
Houston could not recover, and Tulane took the opening set 25-18.
The Cougars responded to the first set loss with a strong statement in the second.
Back-to-back aces from freshman libero Karly Berkland helped Houston jump out to an early 7-2 lead, and a combined block from senior right setter Megan Duncan and freshman middle blocker Rachel Tullos kept the Cougars ahead by five later in the set.
A kill from Duncan sealed a 25-16 set win, which tied the game at one.
In the third, Tulane took the early advantage and was able to build on it for much of the set.
The Green Wave saw their three-point lead grow to as much as seven, but then the Cougars stormed back on a 12-4 run, which carried them to the 25-22 comeback set win and gave them the 2-1 match advantage.
In the fourth set, Tulane again took the early lead, but unlike the third set, there was no incredible Houston rally.
The Green Wave built an early 11-7 advantage and extended it throughout the set.
Tulane won the fourth 25-17, and they tied the match at two, which set up the winner-take-all fifth set.
The sudden death set began with both teams matching each other point-for-point, and for Houston, it was highlighted by a kill from freshman outside hitter Abbie Jackson, which tied the set a three.
That kill from Jackson, however, was one of the only highlights of the set for the Cougars as Tulane took command, closing out the set and the game on a 12-3 run.
Junior outside hitter Lexie Douglas led the Green Wave with 18 kills and 19 digs.
The Green Wave won the set 15-6 and won the match 3-2.
Houston was led by Jackson, who had 17 kills. Sophomore setter Kelsey Childers led in assists with 44.
On defense, senior libero Katie Karbo, as she did for the entire season, led the Cougars with 26 digs. Tullos led the team with nine blocks.
The Cougars end the season 10-7 against AAC opponents including their postseason play, and they finish 16-16 overall.