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Tuesday, May 30, 2023

Sports

Houston volleyball advances to Sweet 16


Houston volleyball is still dancing after the Cougars defeated Auburn Friday night in Omaha, Nebraska to advance to the Sweet 16. | Courtesy of UH athletics

Houston volleyball is still dancing after the Cougars defeated Auburn Friday night in Omaha, Nebraska to advance to the Sweet 16. | Courtesy of UH athletics

Entering the NCAA Tournament, Houston volleyball head coach David Rehr set a goal of reaching the Sweet 16.

UH did just that on Saturday night, erasing a 2-1 deficit to win a five-set thriller on Friday night at Creighton’s D.J. Sokol Arena in Omaha, Nebraska.

“To go to the Sweet 16 with this team means everything,” said UH outside hitter Abbie Jackson. “We had our sights on the (NCAA) tournament, but now we have our sights set even farther.”

With the season on the brink of ending after Auburn put together a dominating 25-12 third-set victory, UH head coach David Rehr knew what needed to be done if the Cougars were going to stay alive.

“I got mad just because we went away from the game plan. We started doing something different.” Rehr said. “We have to go back to our basics. Sometimes we can get away from the game plan and it be successful, but it didn’t work at all.”

The Cougars responded, getting back to being themselves early in the fourth set.

“After about the five, six point mark we calmed down and started playing our game,” Rehr said. “It paid off defensively.”

After narrowly winning the fourth set 25-23, the Cougars found another gear in set five.

Tied at 4-4 to begin the fifth set, UH took three straight points and never looked back.

A kill by senior setter Abbie Jackson sealed the deal, sending UH to the Sweet 16 with a 15-8 fifth-set victory.

For the second straight night, graduate outside hitter Kennedy Warren led the Cougars in kills, finishing with 17.

Jackson finished with 14 kills. Rachel Tullos had 11 kills and Kellen Morin added 10 of her own.

Junior libero Kate Georgiades posted a match-high 27 digs.

Next up, UH will travel to Palo Alto, California to take on No. 1 seed Stanford on Thursday in the program’s first Sweet 16 appearance since 1994.

“Our goal is to keep winning,” Rehr said. “The Sweet 16 was the short-term (goal). We didn’t make it an ending goal.”

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