Cougars can’t close out, fall to ECU in 5
Coming off a rough loss to Tulane, Houston volleyball (9-7, 1-3) lost a close match Sunday afternoon against the East Carolina University Pirates (8-5, 1-3) in five sets (25-14, 25-15, 18-25, 27-29 and 13-15).
The Cougar defense came out strong, holding the Pirates to a .061 hitting average in the first two sets to go up 2-0. But following the 10-mintue halftime, ECU showed they weren’t going to go down without a fight, winning the next 3 sets for the victory.
The Pirates took advantage of 9 Cougar errors in the third set and came back to win a fourth set that was back and forth for every point.
Houston fell behind in the decisive fifth set 1-6 and just missed a comeback, falling 13-15.
Redshirt junior Kadi Kullerkann led the Cougars offensively, hitting .385 and picking up her seventh 20-kill match of the season with 27. Kullerkann was also a defensive force, picking up 3 blocks.
Senior outside hitter Cortney Warren picked up 12 kills for the Cougars, 10 of which came in the first two sets when she hit .500.
“We had the first two sets, but we should’ve come out with more energy out of the break,” Warren said.
Sophomore Hunter Wise continued her strong play hitting .412 with 7 kills and picking up 2 blocks.
Freshman setter Keandra McCardell also played well, picking up her third career double-double with 42 assists and 13 digs.
This loss puts Houston in a tie with ECU for ninth in the American Athletic Conference, three and a half games back of leader Central Florida.
“We’re not the deepest team, so we don’t have any room to take a break,” Warren said. “We have a pretty good defense; we just need to push harder.”
Houston looks to end the two-game skid Friday, Oct. 10 as they travel to Dallas to face in-state rival Southern Methodist University (13-3, 2-2), followed by a game Sunday, Oct. 7 at Tulsa (8-6, 0-3).
“Going forward we need to stay together and push through the obstacles we come across,” Warren said. “We’re going to give it our all in every opportunity we have this season no matter the opponent.”