Volleyball team tripped up by SMU, Tulsa
The Cougars’ hopes of reaching the postseason were dashed Friday with a 3-2 loss at SMU followed by a 3-1 loss at
No. 24 Tulsa on Sunday to end a seven-game win streak.
“Sunday, we played well,” head coach Molly Alvey said. “I think we played a good solid game against a Top 25 team. Without the errors or with a couple more points, I think we could have definitely forced them into a fifth set.”
Tulsa extended its winning streak to 28 matches with a 14-25, 23-25, 25-20, 21-25 win over the Cougars (19-12, 13-6 C-USA), who dropped back-to-back contests for the first time since late September.
“We recovered really well on Sunday after a huge disappointment on Friday, and that’s very difficult to do, especially against a very strong team,” Alvey said.
Outside hitter Marluci Toazzi stood out for the Cougars, recording 14 kills and nine digs. Chandace Tryon chipped in with 10 kills.
“Sunday, Marluci was phenomenal,” Alvey said. “She put together a good weekend against two top teams.”
The opening game belonged to Tulsa, which took a 12-8 lead following an early 7-6 deficit to finish the set on a 13-6 run.
The second game was closer as the Cougars took a slim 17-16 lead, but fell behind 20-18. The game was tied 23-23, but the Hurricane rallied late to go up two sets to none.
The Cougars won their only game of the match in the third set. Tulsa had won 29 consecutive sets before UH took a 12-9 lead in and hung on to win it.
UH competed early in the fourth game, trailing 10-9, but the Hurricane held on to secure the match.
“I think if we could have pushed them to five sets, we actually would of put ourselves in a better situation,” Alvey said. “They haven’t been in a five-set match in months.”
SMU avenged an Oct. 23 loss at UH. The Mustangs knocked off the Cougars 19-25, 25-21, 25-22, 8-25, 8-15 to give head coach Lisa Seifert her highest win total (24) in 15 years at the helm of SMU’s program.
“I think when we were on, we were really on, and when we were off, we were really off,” Alvey said.
“A lot of that is preparation going into (the match). I think that’s probably the biggest piece.”
UH dropped the first game, but rallied to win the second and third sets to take a 2-1 lead, hoping to sweep the season series with SMU.
The Mustangs woke up and dominated in the fourth game, going up 5-0 then 11-4 before rolling to a 25-8 victory to tie the match.
The Cougars fell behind 5-1 in the fifth game as SMU finished them off on a 10-7 run to win the match.
“We fell apart mentally — there’s nothing else to it,” Alvey said. “You don’t lose 25-8 without having some mental issues.
“I think that was it. When things weren’t working for us, we didn’t do anything differently to try and make a change.”
Amber Brooks led the way with 42 assists and 10 digs, while Toazzi chipped in with 10 kills and 13 digs.
The Cougars will end their first season under Alvey against Rice on Saturday at Tudor Fieldhouse. The Owls (15-16, 10-9) won the first meeting 3-0 on Sept. 21 at the Athletics/Alumni Center.