Cougars sweep Owls

var uslide_show_id = "f625b174-37d7-4028-b2d1-c5f875d1682f";var slideshowwidth = "468";var linktext = "";

The Cougar volleyball team avenged a prior 3-1 loss to cross-town rival Rice on Thursday night at the Alumni/Athletics Center by closing out their conference regular season with a clean sweep of the Owls.

With strong defense, the Cougars (18-11, 10-6 Conference USA) took the night in straight sets in their fourth consecutive victory.

"This was the perfect night, the perfect way to end our season, to end our conference matches," senior setter Kelsey King said. "I couldn’t be happier with how we played."

Senior outside hitter Justine Farmer notched a team-high 15 kills, and King added 29 assists and 10 digs for her 12th double-double this season. Sophomore middle blocker Lucy Charuk finished with 12 kills against the Owls.

The Cougars took the momentum early, grabbing a 6-2 lead in the first set. Halfway through the match, the Owls tied it at 16, but after calling a timeout, the Cougars came out with a 4-0 run. Rice added just 1 more point before Houston embarked on a 5-0 run to take the set 25-17.

With an early 6-0 run in the second set, it looked like the Cougars had cornered the Owls. Rice gradually reduced the Cougars’ lead, out-hitting them 2-1 to tie the score at 11. The teams fought until the Cougars finally pulled through with a 30-28 victory on a kill from Farmer.

"Our side-out efficiency wasn’t very good," head coach Bill Walton said. "I think this is the first time that we’ve had a poor side-out efficiency but stayed in it and we still fought. Our defensive game plan was well executed by the team."

The Owls held on to battle in the third set, creating a 21-18 lead before the Cougars pushed back to close the final set with a 25-23 win.

"We had more blocks in the third game than we had in the first two total," Walton said. "We said, ‘Let’s block them. We are the second best blocking team in the conference, and let’s show it.’"

For graduating seniors, Farmer, King and middle blocker Barbara Freitas, the C-USA closer couldn’t have been sweeter.

"I was nervous all day long, and then once the senior stuff happened and the girls pumped us up, I was ready to win," Farmer said. "Especially since it was my senior night and it was last time I was going to play here."

Leave a Comment