UH to face Tigers, UAB

The Cougar volleyball team moves into the home stretch of the season with a three-game home stand and is preparing for conferences matches against Memphis and Conference USA leader Alabama-Birmingham this weekend.

The Cougars (15-11, 7-6 C-USA) hope to stall the Blazers from extending their school-record 16 game win streak and halt Memphis’ four-straight victories in contests at the Athletics/Alumni Center, where Houston is 7-1 this season.

"This week we practiced a lot on defense and sideout efficiency," sophomore defensive specialist Amanda Carson said. "Everyone was intense and focused. Everyone is ready to play."

Carson was named the C-USA Defensive Specialist of the Week for her 40 digs in matches against Southern Methodist and Tulsa, setting a conference-best 5.71 digs per set average for the weekend. She hopes to win the defensive battle against Houston’s opponents this weekend and play into the postseason.

Memphis leads the conference in team blocks with 297 this year with the Cougars on their heels at second with 233.5. Memphis sophomore middle blocker Emily Underwood leads the league with 164 total blocks on the season, but Houston sophomore middle blocker Lucy Charuk ranks second in C-USA with 129 total blocks and a 1.3 block per game average this year.

"The coaches are doing a really good job of keeping us motivated for this weekend," Carson said. "I hope that we win the conference tournament and make the NCAA."

The Cougars are ranked fifth in C-USA (15-11, 7-6 C-USA) and hope to tie Memphis (17-10, 8-5 C-USA) for fourth place on Friday.

"We’ve come a long way," freshman outside hitter Jennifer Peyton said. "We’ve had games on off days, but we’ve always come back from them. The team has grown a lot and is way different from how we started out in the season."

The Cougars play their first match of the weekend tonight against Memphis at 7 p.m. followed by a contest with conference leader UAB (22-3, 12-1 C-USA) at 1 p.m. Sunday. Students are admitted to the games free with a valid CougarOne card.

"We’re ready and it will be a couple of good games this weekend, so people should come and watch," Peyton said.

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