Cougars prepare for international battle, opportunity to honor coach
The Israeli National Team will begin its three-match tour of Texas with an exhibition against the Cougars tonight.
The match might be the most meaningful of the three to Israeli head coach Arie Selinger.
Selinger is no stranger to the University. He served as the head coach of the U.S. National Team from 1975 to 1984. Former UH head coach Ruth Nelson served as a coach on his staff for the 1980 and 1984 squads that featured former three UH players — Flo Hyman, Rita Crockett and Rose Magers.
During those years, the team stayed in Pasadena and trained at the University.
“There’s a huge link,” head coach Molly Alvey said. “He lived here, they trained in Houston and they actually trained on campus. This is his home. So it’s a really cool connection. It’s a really big deal to us.
“There’s a lot of old national team players and a lot of people involved with USA volleyball that are connected to Houston, connected to Ari that will be coming back for the match.”
The match will not count towards the Cougars’ official season record, but should prove beneficial for several reasons.
“One, to just have an opportunity to play that level of volleyball,” Alvey said. “Two, they know it’s in preparation to help us continue to get better for the rest of our preseason tournaments because we have some tough competition coming up.
“I think the other important part for the team is to see how excited our fans are over it. Just to open up winning our first three and then to have this match is going to be a pretty exciting night tomorrow.”
Alvey is trying to restore the program to its previous prominence achieved under Nelson. In her first season as head coach, the Cougars finished third in Conference USA with their highest win total since 1999.
The match will take place tonight at 7 p.m. at the Athletics/Alumni Center.