Sports Volleyball

No. 22 UH volleyball comeback falls short vs. No. 2 Stanford

No. 22 UH volleyball saw its 2023 season come to a heartbreaking end at the hands of No. 2 Stanford in the NCAA tournament. | Oscar Herrera/The Cougar

Despite a valiant comeback effort, the No. 22 UH volleyball team saw its season come to an end in five sets in the second round of the NCAA tournament on Saturday evening against No. 2 Stanford.

While graduate student outside hitter Kenna Sauer got the first kill of the match, the Cougars began to fall behind in the first set. Stanford went on to take the first set comfortably 25-15.

While Houston maintained pace much better in the second set, it lagged behind the Cardinal for most of the set. A crucial kill from Sauer and a clutch block from graduate student outside hitter Nena Mbonu kept the Cougars in it but they came up short 25-22.

Houston finally found some footing in the third set growing a lead as wide as 20-12. An ensuing Stanford run was not enough to prevent the Cougars from taking the third and surviving for another set.

The fourth set was neck-and-neck until three consecutive blocks from the Cougars gave UH a slight edge. A Stanford timeout with Houston leading 21-17 was not enough to prevent the Cougars from pushing ahead onto its second 25-22 win.

Houston had forced a game-deciding fifth set with hopes of completing the comeback.

The Cougars had a slow start to the final set as they trailed 5-2 until a miraculous rally moved UH within two points again and kept the team alive.

Stanford moved closer to sealing a fifth-set victory as Houston’s comeback effort stalled with the fifth set ending 15-7 in Stanford’s favor to send UH home.

Sauer led UH with 24 kills while graduate student outside hitter Abbie Jackson followed with 15 kills to her name. Graduate student middle blocker Rachel Tullos led the team with six blocks.

The loss marks the end of a wildly successful inaugural Big 12 season for UH volleyball. The Cougars finish their season 19-10 with their NCAA tournament loss coming at the hands of the No. 2-ranked team in the nation.

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