Searching for success in the Blue Grass state
The Cougars (4-2) will travel to Lexington, Ky., today to compete in the UK Invitational hosted by the Kentucky Wildcats.
UH will begin tournament play against the West Virginia Mountaineers on Friday.
They will round out competition Saturday when they play Loyola Marymount and tournament host UK.
“If we’re busting our butts at 80 percent, it’s not going to cut it,” head coach Molly Alvey said.
“Eighty percent isn’t enough against these teams. We have to go 100 percent, point after point.”
After suffering losses against No. 23 Dayton and No. 4 Illinois at the State Farm Illini Classic last weekend, the Cougars look to regroup against West Virginia with high expectations from their front line.
“We definitely got better after the Illinois game,” Alvey said.
“We got kind of put in check, but now we have to come out and learn from that experience.”
Third-year players expected to step up
Alvey and her staff will look to juniors Katie Norris and Stephanie Nwachukwu to lead the offensive push.
Nwachukwu’s individual play has been a determining factor for UH’s success. The junior’s strong showing at the Flo Hyman Cup led to a quick 3-0 start for the Cougars, but has struggled with consistency as of late.
“When Stephanie plays well, the team plays well,” Alvey said.
“She adds a whole other dynamic to the team when she’s on. That’s something that comes with her position.”
Going into the weekend, the Cougars will also depend on outside hitter Katie Norris to continue her dominance at net.
The junior averaged 11 kills during the State Farm Classic in Illinois and has quickly appeared as an offensive mainstay in early season play.
“So far she’s our point leader, and she’s got solid experience as a transfer coming from Ole Miss,” Alvey said. “She’s definitely come into that role as leader.”