13 Senior Katie Norris notched her 13th career double-double, leading Houston with 16 kills and 12 digs.
HOUSTON -- The University of Houston volleyball team used a strong effort by its four seniors to propel the Cougars to a 3-0 sweep over Southern Miss in Sunday's home finale in Conference USA play.
Houston earned its third sweep of the season in a dominating and consistent effort across the board, led by 43 team kills, 16 block assists and a strong second-set comeback.
Senior Katie Norris paced all players with her 13th career double-double, tallying 16 kills and 12 digs for Houston. She was followed by senior classmates Stephanie Nwachukwu and Chandace Tryon with 10 and eight kills, respectively. The seniors combined for an impressive attacking percentage of .347, totaling 34 of the team's 43 kills.
Senior setter Abby Simmons tallied 36 assists and three service aces to help lift the offense.
SET 1: Houston 25, Houston 18 Houston went up 6-2 following two kills by Norris and a block assist by Norris and freshman Emily Howard. Four straight kills by the Cougars including three consecutive by Norris extended Houston's lead to 10-3. Both teams exchanged points for much of the set, but kills by Howard and Nwachukwu put the Cougars up by 10 at 20-10. Despite four unanswered points by Southern Miss, Houston maintained its lead and finished with kills from Norris and freshman Shelby Vance for a 1-0 lead in the match.
SET 2: Houston 26, Southern Miss 24 Houston fell down 7-1 after three consecutive attacking errors The Cougars then rallied with a 5-1 run to narrow the score to two at 8-6. Extending its lead, Houston put together three straight points with a kill by Nwachukwu and a block assist by Nwachukwu and Tryon to take its first lead of the set at 13-12. Two kills by Tryon and a service ace by junior Meredith Ware gave Houston a 17-15 lead, but Southern Miss responded to keep it close. The Golden Eagles strung together three unanswered points to regain its lead at 21-20. Southern Miss used a block and a kill to go up by two at 23-21, forcing a Houston timeout. Following the timeout, the Cougars took advantage of two late errors by Southern Miss to tie the set at 23-23. Back-to-back errors forced a 24-24 stalemate until two Southern Miss errors gave Houston a 2-0 lead in the match.
SET 3: Houston 25, Southern Miss 22 Simmons' back-to-back service aces sparked a 4-1 run for Houston to open set three. Southern Miss used consecutive kills to tie the set at 4-4, but Norris responded with a kill and the Cougars used a Golden Eagle ball handling error to go up by two. The teams exchanged leads and were tied as late as 21-21. Following a Southern Miss timeout late in the set, Houston came out and finished on a 4-1 run, which included kills from Nwachukwu and Norris and a service ace by Simmons for the sweep.
POST-GAME QUOTES Head Coach Kaddie Platt Thoughts on the game "We started off really well, and passed well. That allowed our offense to perform and we had a strong defensive effort that played a factor."
On how it feels to end the home slate with a win "It feels awesome. It was great to see the seniors end with a win especially Katie with that final kill. It was the perfect way to end."
On going into the final weekend with a win "It's always good to win. It builds confidence, but we have plenty to work on to get ready for SMU and Tulsa."
Senior Katie Norris Thoughts on the game "It was really good and great team win. The entire team was intense and executed our game plan. Great win on senior day."
On how it feels to end at home with a win on Senior Day "It feels awesome to have our last home game be a win. It was great to see everyone's families come into town and watch. Anytime you can win on Senior Day is a great feeling."
Senior Stephanie Nwachukwu Thoughts on the game "We played an amazing match. Everyone came together and played great. I'm really proud of all of my teammates. Especially to have a win for all the seniors."
On how it feels to end at home with a win on Senior Day "It's a great momentum builder going into the final weekend and I know we're going to be great in our final matches."
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UP NEXT Houston will hit the road for its final regular season weekend when it travels to face SMU at 7 p.m. Friday and Tulsa at 1 p.m. Sunday in Conference USA action.