Sports Volleyball

UH volleyball downs UC Santa Barbara in NCAA tourney first round

The No. 22 Houston volleyball team advanced to the second round of the NCAA tournament with a Friday win over UC Santa Barbara. | Oscar Herrera/The Cougar

The No. 22 UH volleyball team defeated UC Santa Barbara in four sets on Friday evening to advance to the second round of the NCAA tournament.

UCSB scored the first three of the set before handing it off to Houston for the next four. The score climbed evenly hitting 18-18. USBC then put up seven points to Houston’s three, claiming the first set by a score of 25-21. 

Houston held a narrow lead for nearly the entire second set. USBC attempted to mount a comeback, taking a one-point lead over the Cougars twice. When USBC led 23-22, graduate outside hitter Kenna Sauer responded by firing three consecutive kills, securing the set for Houston. 

The third set began with a back-and-forth battle, the score landing at 9-9. 

UH then exploded to go on a 7-0 run and held UCSB to just five more in the set.

Two UCSB errors and a kill from graduate outside hitter Abbie Jackson put Houston one set closer to its first-round NCAA tournament win.

UCSB returned with a vengeance to start the fourth set but UH soon found its rhythm. Several UCSB errors and two kills from graduate outside hitter Nena Mbonu put the Cougars up 10-6.

UH maintained its lead for the remainder of the set, pulling away as a Mbonu kill closed out the final set 25-18.

Sauer, Jackson and Mbonu lead the Cougars in kills with 18, 16 and 12 respectively. 

The Cougars will now prepare to continue their tournament run and take on the winner of Fresno State and Stanford tomorrow.

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