HOUSTON, TX (Sept. 1) -- Senior hitter Jennifer Wittenburg spiked a career-high 33 kills to lead the University of Houston volleyball team to a 3-1 victory over visiting Texas-Arlington Friday night in Hofheinz Pavilion.
Wittenburg blasted 33 kills and posted 15 defensive digs (one shy of her career-high) with four blocks to lead the Cougars to a 15-10, 9-15, 15-11, 16-14 win over UTA in the season-opener for both teams. In the process UH Head Coach Bill Walton earned his 300th career Houston win.
Finally playing without most of the nagging injuries that have plagued her collegiate career the last three years, Wittenburg showed the hitting skills that earned her All-Greater Houston honors as a high school standout at Cy-Falls. The 33 kills was the most by a Houston player since Lilly Denoon's school-record 37 in a five-game win over Georgia six years ago, but ironically it was Wittenburg's spikes in the final game that took her out of a chance to possibly set a new UH record in the category.
Wittenburg was the "go-to" player in the match-deciding fourth game where Houston rallied from a 14-11 deficit to claim a come-from-behind 16-14 victory and win the match three-games to one. If Arlington had won to send the match to five games, the 6-foot-3 Wittenburg was on a pace to break the record by a wide margin.
Texas-Arlington showed early-on it was going to be a tough opening match for the 2000 season. After bouncing back with a 15-9 win in game two the Mavericks rallied from a 13-3 deficit in game three before falling 15-11. UTA then served for game-point in game four before Wittenburg helped lead the Houston rally.
UH seniors Bobbi Stewart and Michelle Frazier combined for 23 kills on the night while junior transfer Gabi Carbone slugged eight kills with 20 digs in her Cougar debut. Sophomore outside hitter Jane Anne Karasek added eight kills with a career-high 16 digs.
Texas-Arlington featured four different players recording double-figure kills, including 19 kills and a match-high 24 digs by Trisha Walker.
Now in his 15th year at the helm of the Houston program, Bill Walton improved his UH record to 300-165. Last season he recorded his 500th career win as a collegiate head coach. Walton will now try for win 301 in a rematch with UTA on Saturday, September 2, in Hofheinz Pavilion. First serve will be at 2:00 p.m.
College Volleyball Linescore Texas-Arlington 10 15 11 14 Houston 15 9 15 16 Kill Leaders Jennifer Wittenburg (UH) 33; Tisha Walker (UTA) 19; Records Houston (1-0); Texas-Arlington (0-1)