Cougars pick up C-USA win on strong senior performances

The Cougars’ march across Dixie started with a loss but ended in victory.

After absorbing a 3-2 loss to the UAB, UH bounced back to win 3-1 against the University of Memphis.

The first match on Friday in Birmingham against the Blazers was a five-set affair that saw, at one point, UH win two straight sets after dropping the opener.

The first set saw UAB win 25-18, before UH rattled off two straight wins of 25-20 and 25-15. The fourth and fifth sets saw UAB flare back and two win 3-2.

The Cougars showed aggressive offense and defense in both matches, as some players put up career bests.

Along with getting to five sets, the third time Houston has accomplished the feat this season, the match saw senior Katie Norris and sophomore Caitlin Ogletree rack up double doubles.

Norris put in 13 kills and 18 digs while Ogletree added 28 assists and 10 digs. The 18 digs were a career high for Norris. Sophomore Taylor Whiteman saw a star game with a career-best nine kills.

By Sunday, the Cougars found themselves in Memphis in the shadow of Graceland. High numbers were the order of the match as Houston racked up a total of 54 kills, 43 of them coming from three seniors.

Katie Norris, Stephanie Nwachukwu and Chandace Tryon led the scoring with a total of 43 kills.

Houston dropped the first set 25-19 before storming back to win three sets in a row and taking the match for the second win of the season to improve to 1-2 in C-USA play.

“Today was a great team win,” head coach Kaddie Platt said after the game. “Abby (Simmons) played extremely well at the setter position and made smart decisions all day for us. Stephanie also had one of her best matches by being a solid block along the net, while producing smart attacking decisions.”

Senior setter Abby Simmons aided the UH cause with 43 assists while sophomore Kaiti Waters chalked up a trio of service aces. As a team, UH rang up a so-far season high of 22 block assists, beating the previous season high of 18. Senior Chandace Tryon led with seven assists and a single solo block. Sophomore Natalie Keck led the squad with 18 digs.

The match saw Norris pile up her fifth double of the season with 18 kills and 17 digs.

“We worked hard and showed discipline while competing through tough competition,” said Platt.

The Cougars return home to face Tulsa at 7 p.m. Friday and rival SMU at 1 p.m. Sunday.

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