Sept. 18, 2010
Thibodaux, La. - The University of Houston volleyball team finished competition at the 2010 Nicholls Challenge Saturday afternoon, recording back-to-back wins over Nicholls State and Southeastern Louisiana. The wins improve the Cougars overall record to 6-6 and pushed their win streak to five matches.
The weekend closed out the non-conference slate of the 2010 schedule and head coach Molly Alvey was happy that her team was able to finish on a high note.
"The first phase of the season played out exactly how, as a coach, I would draw up," Alvey said. "We had opportunities early in the season that we were not able to finish, but we played tough teams. We continued to play strong and learn from our mistakes and it was clear that what we are trying to do with this program is translating to the team. This weekend takes us into conference play on a high note."
After leading the Cougars in kills against all three opponents this weekend, Chandace Tryon was named the Tournament MVP and Amanda Carson was selected as the Libero of the Tournament. Amber Brooks was also named to the All-Tournament team.
"Overall we put together a solid day," Alvey added. "We played solid all weekend and we made sure to stay focused through all three matches. It was important for us to build confidence and win matches but was also wanted to limit our play so that we are not tired on Tuesday when we play Rice."
Houston 3, Nicholls State 0
Houston began the afternoon with a 3-0 (25-17, 25-18, 25-20) win over tournament host Nicholls State.
Tryon followed up her stellar performance on Friday night to again lead the Cougars with 14 kills and a .429 hitting percentage against the Colonels. Lucy Charuk added 13 kills and three blocks.
The Cougars jumped out to a 10-3 lead to begin the match, including a 5-0 run after Houston held the 5-3 advantage but Nicholls State would battle back and cut the deficit to three, 12-9. The two teams would trade points until the score was 18-14 in Houston's favor. The next four points would be awarded to UH and they would go on to take the set, 25-17.
The tale of the second set mirrored that of the first. Houston would take the early 11-7 lead before allowing the Colonels to pull within three, 15-12. And just as they had in the first, Houston would pull away late and go on to take the win.
With all the momentum on the Cougar bench, Houston sailed to a 20-12 lead in the final set. But not to be outdone, Nicholls State would fight back to trail, 23-18, but it would be too much for the home team as the Cougars would seal the win with a Tryon kill for match point.
Houston 3, Southeastern Louisiana 0
The Cougars final win of the afternoon came against Southeastern Louisiana. The Cougars won 3-0 with scores of 25-16, 25-13 and 25-16.
For the third straight match, Tryon led the Cougars with 13 kills and finished the match 13 of 16 with a .750 hitting percentage. As a team, Houston recorded 46 attempts with a .330 hitting percentage, while holding their opponents to just 19 kills with a .037 hitting percentage.
Amber Brooks added 39 assists and Carson had 13 digs.
In the early go of the first set, the two teams traded points and tied the score 13-13. Houston came out of the tie to put together an 8-1 run to pull away 23-14. The run forced Southeastern Louisiana to call a timeout and out of the break Houston went on to reach 25 points first and secure the win.
The Cougars carried the momentum to the second set, jumping out to a 13-6 lead. They would go on to increase the lead to 20-10 and eventually take a 2-0 set lead into the third.
The final set of the match would play out very similar to the first set, as the two teams would play a close match but in the end the Cougars would pull away and complete the tournament sweep.
Houston will begin Conference USA play on Sept. 21 when they play host to Rice at the Athletics/Alumni Center. The match is slated to begin at 7 p.m.