League play set to begin against Owls
UH will open Conference USA play today when it goes to Rice for the first of two meetings against their cross-town rivals.
UH (7-3) enters the matchup as winners of four of its final five non-conference matches, the most recent coming against Lamar in a quick three-set sweep at the Athletics/Alumni Center on Sept. 13.
“I think coming off Lamar and the other previous weekends we’ve had, this match is huge for us being the conference opener,” head coach Molly Alvey said.
“Everything we’ve worked for and practiced, we’re hoping translates into conference wins. Ultimately, that’s where we earn our bid into the NCAA Championship.”
Currently, UH sports a 4-0 record at the Athletics/Alumni Center, with all three of their losses coming in tournaments played on the road.
Though the Cougars have proven to be offensively explosive, the inability to maintain composure in tight situations has left UH vulnerable for dropoffs late in games at times.
In two attempts, UH has yet to claim a match on an opponent’s home court.
“Essentially we’re at home, but on an away court,” Alvey said. “The only way you come out a winner is by keeping your composure.
“All those really good things that we’ve been doing from the beginning of matches, we’ve also got to do at game point. That’s something we’ve struggled with.”
After claiming wins against Sam Houston State and Stephen F. Austin at the Chilly Filmore’s SFA Invitational, Rice begins conference play with a 5-6 record.
The Owls were picked to finish sixth in the preseason Conference USA Coaches Poll.
“We’re going to need to a full team effort,” Alvey said. “We have the firepower to really dominate, so if we have five attackers on, we’ll be really difficult to stop.
“We’ve worked our butts off this preseason, and during the summer, so now we’ve got to bring it to conference.”
First serve for the C-USA opener is set for 7 p.m. today at Tudor Fieldhouse.