Cougars poised for conference play following record-setting performances
In the final outing before the start of American Athletic Conference play, Houston went undefeated at the Islanders Classic with victories over UT-Pan American and Texas A&M-Corpus Christi.
Coming off a disappointing loss to UTSA Thursday, the Cougars started the day off with a 3-0 sweep (27-25, 25-15, and 25-15) of the Broncos. The Cougars fired on all cylinders during the match, dominating in every phase of the game.
Although led offensively by redshirt junior Kadi Kullerkann’s 12 kills, the story of the match was the Cougar defense.
The Broncos were held to a .056 hitting average, including a .000 average in the decisive third set. After moving into third all-time in school history in career digs after Thursday’s game against UTSA, senior libero Natalie Keck followed up with a 17 dig performance against UTPA. The Cougars forced the Broncos into 26 attack errors and added 6 blocks to their defensive effort.
Excitement came in the second match of the evening, a five set thriller over TAMUCC (25-21, 19-25, 25-17, 21-25, 15-10).
Kullerkann hit for a .405 average on her way to a career high 37 kills in the match tying for second all-time in school history in a single match. Her performance also set the school record for most kills in a five-set match. Following the record-setting performance, Kullerkann was named to the all-tournament team.
Senior hitter Cortney Warren had a strong day totaling 28 kills, including her second 20-kill match of the season, against TAMUCC.
Junior setter Destiny Patterson picked up her third career double-double with 56 assists and 15 digs against TAMUCC. Patterson also played a pivotal role against UTPA serving nine points in the third set.
Defensively, Keck continued her hot streak with a career high 39 digs in the match, tying for second all-time in school history. The Cougars continued the day’s block party with 9 more, giving them a grand total of 15 for the tournament.
Friday’s performance pushed Houston to 8-4 on the season and in prime position to begin AAC play.
The Cougars will look to improve on last season’s 10-8 conference record, with AAC play opening at home at 7 p.m. Friday, Sept. 26 against Cincinnati. and have a quick turnaround with a match at home against Memphis at 1 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 28.