Volleyball team prepares for last homestand
The Cougars defend their home court this weekend for their final two home games of the season against ECU tonight and Marshall on Sunday at the Athletics/Alumni Center.
UH (17-10, 11-4 C-USA) has won five consecutive games, and sits alone in third in the Conference USA standings behind Tulsa (25-2, 15-0) and SMU (21-5, 13-2).
The offensive-minded Cougars hope their last home games will help them keep up their success.
“This week we’ve really been focusing on offense,” head coach Molley Alvey said. “We’ve got to find a way to execute better and put a few more balls away.”
Sunday is also senior day for two Cougars, libero Amanda Carson and outside hitter Marluci Toazzi, as they play their final home game in scarlet and white.
“I think both of them play a huge role in contributing to the team,” Alvey said. “Amanda’s the only player on the team that has been here four consecutive seasons.
“Marluci has stepped up despite injuries at the beginning of the season and has stepped in and played a critical role on the outside.”
Setter Amber Brooks received her second C-USA setter of the week award Monday with 71 total assists in the Cougar’s back-to-back wins against UAB and Memphis.
“That role is a demanding role,” Alvey said. “When it doesn’t work out on the court then the setter is the one that usually gets the finger pointed at them. When it does work out on the court they are usually not the ones who get recognized.”
The Cougars last played ECU (1-25, 0-14 C-USA) on Oct. 31, and beat them handily in a 3-0 sweep. The Pirates have had a dismal season, and are currently on a 14-game losing streak. The Pirates have been swept 19 times this season.
The Pirates’ only win of the season was Sept. 18 in a 3-2 win over Binghamton in their final game of the Georgetown Classic.
ECU is coached by Pati Rolf, who is in her second season with the Pirates.
“How we prepare for every match is what can we do to be better,” Alvey said. “It’s the same game plan. We are not going to worry about who is on the other side of the net. We are going to take care of ourselves.”
Marshall (9-17, 3-11) has not performed well, having dropped nine straight games. They were swept 3-0 by the Cougars in their first meeting of the season Oct. 29.
The Thundering Herd are led by Elizabeth Herman’s 363 kills in the season, including 13 kills in the loss against the Cougars. Marshall is coached by Mitch Jacobs, who is in his ninth season. Marshall’s last win came more than a month ago Oct. 3 against UAB.
The Cougars hope to make the most of their last showing on campus.
“Each one of these matches are just as important as the next,” Alvey said. “It’s our last weekend at home — our last opportunity to play in front of our fans.”
Lucy Charuk leads the Cougars with 312 kills and 119 blocks. Brooks leads the way with 1,030 assists, and Carson has 472 digs.
The Cougars are on the road for their final three games of the season, beginning Nov. 19 at SMU followed by a Nov. 21 match with first-place C-USA foe Tulsa.
After Thanksgiving the Cougars make the short trip to Tudor Fieldhouse to play Rice on Nov. 27.