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Monday, May 16, 2022

Volleyball

Despite fast start, Kullerkann not feeling complacent


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Kullerkann leads the Cougars in kills and total attacks with 256 and 587, respectively, and is tied for first in points with 51.  |  Valli Challa/The Cougar

No Cougar has gotten off to a hotter start this season than outside hitter Kadi Kullerkann.

The redshirt junior has been a key player to the Cougars 8-5 start, one of only four to play in every set this season, and she leads the Cougars in nearly every offensive category.

Following a career high, conference and school record 37 kills in a five-set match against Texas A&M- Corpus Christi, Kullerkann was named the American Athletic Conference Offensive Player of the Week for week four.

“It feels great; obviously you’re not going to have the best day every day, but if it’s not your day you’ve got to come out and make up for whatever is lacking,” Kullerkann said. “I just keep pushing — I’m not where I want to be and I’m not going to give up on that.”

Kullerkann came to Houston from Tallinn, Estonia where she helped lead her team to fourth and fifth place finishes at the Estonia championships during her junior and senior years of high school. She joined the Cougars in the 2011 season, part of a recruiting class that featured fellow Cougar senior Natalie Keck.

“She’s been a great teammate, always communicating and consistent in her play on the court,” Keck said. “We can always count on her to get kills when we need them.”

As a freshman, Kullerkann started 7 of the 21 matches she appeared in, totaling 93 kills and 45 digs, including one 20-kill match against Marshall University.

Her sophomore campaign ended before it started when she suffered a season-ending knee injury in the first set of the season and was granted a medical redshirt.

“That year off helped me a lot mentally to get where I need to be and to realize what I need to do for the team to be the best player I can be,” she said.

Kullerkann entered the 2013 season ready to make up for lost time as she recorded a then career-high 21 kills against Texas Southern in just the third match of the season. She appeared in all 33 matches for the Cougars, totaling 309 kills on a .213 hitting average and defensively picking up 84 total blocks.

Her play was rewarded as she was selected to the TCU Nike/Molten Invitational All-Tournament Team, was twice named to the AAC Honor Roll and was a second-team all-AAC that year.

Expectations were high coming into the 2014 season, with Kullerkann being named to the preseason All-AAC team, and her play on the court has shown that was well deserved.

She is off to the best start of her career this season, as she currently leads the AAC with 256 kills and 5.02 kills per set.

“She’s definitely developed into a confident player that is willing to put the team on her back and go with it,” head coach Kaddie Platt said.

“She’s carried us through a lot of teams and has really developed into a complete player for us.”

Kullerkann is a true student-athlete, shining not only on the court but in the classroom as well, being named to the AAC All-Academic Team for the 2013-2014 year.

Though off to her best start as a Cougar, Kullerkann is not satisfied and continues to work to improve her game.

“My main thing is consistency. I want to make less mistakes and help my team as much as I can being a key player,” Kullerkann said. “I have the potential this year, now I just have to find the consistency.”

“I’ve had some good games and my personal goal is to have every game like that.”

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