Cougars drop two in tough AAC weekend

Despite redshirt junior outside hitter Kadi Kullerkann picking up her fourth and fifth consecutive 20-kill matches this weekend, Houston volleyball couldn’t capitalize as they dropped two road matches against strong AAC teams.

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The Cougars have had a shaky start to their AAC play this year, currently on a 4-game losing streak despite playing well every game.  |  File Photo/The Cougar

Friday night, Houston traveled to Dallas to take on SMU. The Mustangs (14-3, 3-2) retained the best overall conference record with a four set victory (13-25, 18-25, 25-23 and 14-25).

The Mustang defense proved to be a challenge for the Cougars holding them to a .101 hitting average and 29 hitting errors to go along with their 12 blocks.

The Cougars rebounded coming out of the half after dropping the first two sets to pick up the third set victory 25-23.

The SMU defense didn’t go away. It held Houston to 14 points in the decisive fourth set.

Kullerkann’s 21 kills on .325 hitting led the way for the Cougars offensively, while freshman setter Keandra McCardell recorded her fourth double-double this season, with a season-high 18 digs to go along with 25 assists.

Following a tough loss to in-state rival SMU on Friday night, Houston traveled to Tulsa and lost a close match against Tulsa.

The Cougars were unable to end their skid Sunday afternoon in Tulsa, dropping the match in five sets (25-16, 29-27, 25-23, 14-25 and 12-15), bringing the current losing streak to four.

After dropping the first set, the Cougars rebounded well to win a close second set and go into the half tied at 1-1.

The Hurricane got off to a quick start in the third set but the Cougars never gave up. They went on to score the final six points of the set to take it. Tulsa didn’t let this get them down, though, as they went on to handily win the fourth and fifth sets.

Kullerkann added another 22 kills on .265 hitting to lead the Cougars, with senior Cortney Warren not far behind putting up 18 kills.

Senior libero Natalie Keck eclipsed the 1,800 career dig mark (1,809), picking up 23 in each match for the Cougars. She has now ten 20-dig performances this season and is on a streak of 17 consecutive matches with double-digit digs.

McCardell played strong for the Cougars again Sunday, picking up her fifth double-double with 11 digs and 50 assists.

The Cougars look to end this current skid as they host AAC newcomer Temple at 6 p.m. Oct. 17 and UConn at 1 p.m. Oct. 19.

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