Cougar volleyball looks to build off Sweet 16 success in Big 12
After a historic 30-4 season and a trip to the Sweet 16, the UH women’s volleyball team is on the rise and ready for the Big 12 Conference.
Led by head coach David Rehr, who turned around the Cougar volleyball program after taking the job in 2019, Houston is looking to build off of its first 30-win season since 1980.
However, the newfound success was completely expected by Rehr.
“That’s what we do. One of my terminologies is ‘When did it become optional,’” Rehr said. “So it doesn’t surprise me that our team did it.”
Returning to the Cougars are star graduate outside hitter Abbie Jackson and standout senior libero Kate Georgiades.
Entering her fifth and final year, Jackson is looking to build off of her best season yet, where she earned an All-America honorable mention.
Last year, Jackson remembered the feeling of intense pride she had in her team’s Sweet 16 run.
“It was one of the most shocking moments, just eye-opening like we did it,” Jackson said. “That was our goal to make it to the tournament and to see how far we would go.”
Georgiades, on the other hand, played for TCU before transferring to Houston in her sophomore year. Struggling with burnout, Rehr helped rekindle her love for volleyball, leading up to her best season yet in 2022, earning AAC defensive player of the week ten times while finishing sixth in the nation for digs.
Georgiades played a huge part in the team’s tournament run, even garnering nationwide attention in the first round.
While playing against South Dakota, Georgiades dove into a table to complete a save. Despite colliding hard with the ground, Georgiades got back up unphased and helped UH win the point.
“It was absolutely all adrenaline, popped right back up,” Georgiades said. “Not even for a second did I think to stay down.”
Georgiades says that the viral moment was merely just a product of how she was raised in the sport.
“From a really young age, I was taught ‘you don’t know if you don’t go,’” Georgiades said. “I’ve run into walls. I’ve run into people before.”
After the win, Georgiades remembers getting emotional after all she went through to get to that point.
“I was crying on the court because it’s just so surreal,” Georgiades said. “Growing up watching volleyball you always wish and prayed that that’s you.”
With a mega-successful year behind them, the Cougars hope to carry their momentum into the Big 12.
“Oh, we’re ready,” Rehr said. “We have a team that can compete, it’s going to be a good matchup every night.”