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Friday, September 21, 2018

Sports

Volleyball heading on final road trip before conference play


Sophomore Gabi Zelaya (center) is second on the team in kills and has played nearly every set. | Courtesy of Stephen Pinchback/UH Athletics

The 11–1 Cougars will travel this weekend to compete in the RMU Sheraton Invitational against three teams. Houston is currently riding a three-match win streak after UTSA ruined its perfect record.

Junior outside hitter Megan Duncan has been dominant in 2018, racking up 148 kills, 88 digs, 24 blocks and 12 service aces. Duncan is in the team’s top five for each statistic.

UH has found a lot of help from sophomore outside hitter Silvia Pertens, who is playing her second season for the Cougars. Pertens aided the team in sweeping all four of its games in the Sawyer Camillo Memorial Classic and earned the American Volleyball Scouting Report’s Player of the Week award in the process as well.

Houston’s first opponent in the tourney is 8–3 Eastern Michigan, which has its own star in senior outside hitter Jordan Smith, who shares the same jersey number, No. 12, as Duncan. Smith earned the Offensive Player of the Week award after she averaged almost 13 kills per set at the William & Mary Colonial Classic last week.

Houston’s second opponent is Duquesne, which should not be of much concern to the Cougars. Senior libero Camryn Vecera has proven to be a weapon for the Dukes, piling up 189 digs, but the team is still sitting at 4–5 on the season and are on a two-match losing streak.

UH will finish off the event against the 4–7 Robert Morris Colonials. RBU’s season got off to a shaky start after it lost six straight matches, but it has since gone 4–1.

The Cougars’ biggest threat against the Colonials will be sophomore middle blocker Emma Granger, who was the Northeast Conference Rookie of the Year in 2017 and powered her team through its recent on-court revival.

Houston will face Eastern Michigan and Duquesne in a doubleheader Friday and will finish the tournament off against Robert Morris on Saturday.

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