Sports Volleyball

No. 22 UH volleyball ends regular season with win over Kansas State

Houston ended the 2023 regular season on the right note after beating Kansas State 3-1 at home. | Oscar Herrera/The Cougar

No. 22 Houston volleyball closed out its regular season with a 3-1 win over Kansas State Saturday afternoon behind 25 kills from graduate outside hitter Kenna Sauer.

Without star graduate outside hitter Abbie Jackson, Houston fell behind early as Kansas State jumped out to a 9-1 lead to begin the first set.

The Cougars fought back and shrunk the lead to as little as four at 12-8, but a 7-1 run from the Wildcats effectively sealed the set and put UH down 1-0.

The second set was a tight, back-and-forth affair, seeing the two teams tied six times after the media timeout. UH took a 22-21 lead after a review ruled a Kansas State kill out of bounds, but the Wildcats took set point with a 3-0 run.

UH tied the set at 24 apiece, and later took a 27-26 lead on two massive kills from Sauer. After trading errors, Sauer nailed a booming kill in the middle of the Kansas State defense to win the set 29-27 and tie the game.

The Cougars were able to grab a small 15-12 lead midway through the third set before another run of kills by Sauer allowed UH to pull away and go up 23-17 late in the set. Junior middle blocker Kellen Morin and sophomore Barakat Rahmon combined a huge block before a kill from junior outside hitter Grace Wiley clinched a critical third-set victory, 25-18.

Houston jumped out to a 4-1 lead to begin the fourth set and later used a 3-0 run to pull away and lead 16-9 to force a Kansas State timeout. The Cougars’ lead ballooned all the way up to 13 before Katie Corelli put it away.

Houston honored seven seniors after the game; Abbie Jackson, Morgan Janda, Kenna Sauer, Nena Mbonu, Rachel Tullos and Bryshanna Brown.

Houston finishes the regular season 18-9 and 11-7 in conference play, including winning nine of its last 11 games to close out the year. UH will finish tied for fourth in the Big 12.

Sunday evening, UH will see its fate for the NCAA Tournament when the selection show begins at 5 p.m.

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