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Sunday, August 14, 2022

Sports

UH volleyball wins Oklahoma Invitational to begin 2021 season


Junior outside hitter Abbie Jackson led the Cougars with 15 kills and 34 attacks o\in the win over Lipscomb. | Courtesy of UH athletics

Junior outside hitter Abbie Jackson led the Cougars with 15 kills and 34 attacks o\in the win over Lipscomb. | Courtesy of UH athletics

UH volleyball kicked off its 2021 season in Norman, Oklahoma, going 3-0 over the weekend to win the Oklahoma Invitational.

Here’s a closer look at how each match went down.

Friday

Houston’s women’s volleyball team came back from down 2-0, winning three straight sets to knock off Lipscomb 3-2 in the season opener at the Oklahoma Invitational.

The Cougars found momentum first with a 6-point run to push an early 11-6 lead, but a late 8-1 run by the Bison powered Lipscomb 25-23 opening set victory..

Errors plagued the Cougars in the first set, as Lipscomb took advantage of eight points while also outscoring UH 16-12 in the kills department.

UH jumped out to a 6-2 lead to start the second set, before Lipscomb fought back to take a 17-12 lead midway through the set.

The Cougars kept the remainder of the second set tight with the Bison, never facing a deficit of more than five points, but lost the set 25-22, heading into the third set down two sets to none.

UH opened up the third set with an 8-4 lead, and pulled out to a 15-10 lead midway through the set.

A late push for a straight-set victory by Lipscomb came up short, as the Cougars held on to win the third set 25-22 to push the match to a fourth set.

The fourth set was the most competitive with eight ties between both teams.  The Cougars took the lead late to go up 22-17, but another late run by Lipscomb posed a scare for UH.

Despite the late push from the Bison, the Cougars scraped by and won the set 25-23 to pull even on sets heading into the fifth set.

The fifth set was all UH, as the Cougars pulled out to a quick lead and capped it off with a 10-3 run to win the set 15-5 and the match three sets to two.

Junior outside hitter Abbie Jackson led the Cougars with 15 kills and 34 attacks, while sophomore setter Annie Cooke recorded a team-high 50 assists and sophomore libero Kate Georgiades posted 15 digs to lead the team.

Saturday

UH opened up Saturday taking on Oregon State in the second matchup of the tournament.

Junior middle blocker Rachel Tullos, who recorded 4 blocks, got things going with the first kill of the day.

But the Beavers proved that set one would be a tight one as the teams traded points.

The Cougars were able to create a little space when senior outside hitter Kortlyn Henderson started heating up, stretching the lead to 11-7.

Henderson finished with 10 kills in the game.

But three straight errors from UH’s side leveled the score, as OSU got the momentum they needed to change the game.

The set was knotted at 15.

After a kill from Jackson, who went on to tally 21 more, it seemed that the Cougars would run away with the victory, holding a 23-19 advantage.

Out of the timeout, the Beavers came out fighting, but it wasn’t enough for UH’s offense, who put an end to the first set 25-22.

In the second set, it was another close race to 25.

OSU started out with the slight advantage, but the rest of the set would be a seesaw after Jackson and senior outside hitter Kendall Warren, who added 15 kills, teamed up for four-straight kills to tie things up at 6.

After some back-and-forth, the Beavers added a kill and an ace to lead 15-12

The Cougars balanced things out thanks to clutch blocking and more consistent offense.

On defense, Georgiades added 26 digs.

Tied at 23, UH recorded back-to-back kills to take the second set 25-23.

In the third, the Cougars were off to a hot start, taking a quick 3-0 lead.

OSU matched the energy immediately, going on a run of its own to tie the game 3-3.

The lead bounced between the two teams up until the very end.

A late service error from UH and two-straight Beaver blows gave the Cougars its first lost set, 25-23.

The fourth set was no different, coming down to the wire yet again.

Jackson got the set started with a kill, but the points poured in from each side. Jackson would continue to pace the way for UH’s offense as the set remained close.

Henderson and Warren added late kills for a 25-22 set victory, and a 3-1 win over OSU.

The Cougars squared off against the Sooners later in the day in the final match of the Oklahoma Invitational

A block from senior middle blocker Isabel Theut and Warren got the Cougars’ rolling in set one.

UH wasted no time, striking fast as three more Cougars got on the board early.

But later in the set, Oklahoma began to pull away, leading 14-10.

UH took advantage of errors from the Sooners to get within two, and later, a 4-0 run to regain the lead 18-17.

When an ace from sophomore defensive specialist Sarah Martinez put the Cougars up by two, Oklahoma was unable to take control.

UH took set one 25-22.

The Cougars dominated in the second set, starting off with a 6-0 run.

Forced to play catch-up early, the Sooners struggled to keep up. UH was dominant at the net, and easily won the set 25-16.

In the third, the Sooners capitalized on the Cougars’ offensive struggles to lead 5-3.

From there, Oklahoma went on another run to lead by five.

Down 14-7, Henderson, who finished with 13 kills, and Warren, who tallied 12 kills and 11 digs, led the Cougars on a 5-0 run of their own, down by just two.

UH continued to trail narrowly but wasn’t able to regain the lead, dropping the third set 25-22.

The Sooners jumped out to an 8-1 lead in the fourth set, and it proved to be all the momentum they needed to roll past UH.

The Cougars were back within four after a block from Tullos and sophomore setter Annie Cooke, but Oklahoma never let up, taking the set 25-14.

Henderson opened up the fifth set as UH scored the first three of the final set.

With the Cougars up 7-3, the Sooners huddled up for a timeout.

Oklahoma came out reenergized and sparked a 6-2 run to make things interesting at 11-10.

After the teams traded kills and errors, UH was at game point.

Jackson’s kill cemented the Cougars’ sweep as they took the final set 15-13, and won the game 3-2 to win the Oklahoma Invitational.

Jackson finished with 12 kills and 12 digs.

Cooke set 44 assists, and Georgiades added 18 digs in the win.

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