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Tuesday, December 7, 2021

Commentary

Meet UH’s newest Cinderella story


If you happen to be one of the few people on campus who’s managed to avoid Robertson Stadium this fall, you’ll be glad to know the UH football squad hasn’t exactly stumbled through its first five games.

Yes, the rumors are true — the Cougars are 5-0.

And yes, Case Keenum and Michael Hayes are having the senior years everyone hoped they would.

It certainly goes without saying that any renewed enthusiasm for UH around the Greater Houston area falls almost wholly on the backs of head coach Kevin Sumlin and the aptly dubbed “Cardiac Coogs.”

As many in the know have already suggested, this very well may be the year UH reintroduces itself to the collegiate nation, and lands a prestigious spot in the splintering conference realignment bonanza.

Sure, all that is enough to pump the blood of any die-hard Cougar, and rightly so.

But with that in mind, UH fans are neglecting the fall’s true Cinderella story, the 10-5 volleyball team.

When doling out credit for success — and there’s plenty to dole — it starts at the top. The UH Athletics Department made an excellent decision handing the reigns over to head coach Molly Alvey two seasons ago.

She’s done everything short of suiting up and hitting the hardwood for the program since she arrived from Ole Miss. In just two years, she’s taken a broken program and made it legitimately competitive in a tough conference — that’s saying a lot for a team that only mustered nine wins in 2009.

Without her imprint on the program, the Cougars don’t finish the 2010 season third in C-USA, and they certainly don’t start 2011 10-3.

In terms of Xs and Os, junior outside hitter Katie Norris was a great find out of Ole Miss, and has paid off in the clutch again and again. She leads the Cougars in kills, holds the 11th spot for total points and 14th for kills per game in C-USA.

Senior Lucy Charuk has been just as dominant, and been every bit the player her recent selection for the Canadian National Team would suggest.

She currently ranks second in blocks per game in C-USA, and has served as the glue in tight moments.

Critics, as critics do, may point out obvious flaws: they lack experience, and they’re undersized.

Perhaps. But the Cougars have proven time and again they’ve got the most essential ingredient for success: grit.

At this point, it’s a matter of execution. But UH fans would do well to hop on the bandwagon now, and avoid the traffic later.


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