Sept. 26, 2013
HOUSTON - The inaugural season of the American Athletic Conference begins this weekend as the University of Houston volleyball team travels more than 1,500 miles to compete against Rutgers and UConn.
After a 7-7 start in preseason, the Cougars shift gears to prepare for conference competition.
"We are excited about starting conference play this weekend," head coach Kaddie Platt said. "The team has worked hard through the preseason to be ready."
Houston Volleyball starts conference play with its longest trip of the year. The team heads to New Brunswick, N.J., for a match up against new conference rival Rutgers Friday at 6 p.m. CT. The two teams first met during the 1984 season and have not crossed paths since. Houston swept the Scarlet Knights in three sets.
Rutgers is one of the original members of The American coming from the Big East. They return 11 letter winners, two of which are starters and the libero. Six newcomers join the Scarlet Knights for the 2013 season, all of which are true freshmen.
Following the match, the Cougars travel to Storrs, Conn. for a mid-day match against UConn. The match begins at 1 p.m. CT. This will mark the first meeting between the two programs.
UConn also comes from the Big East along with Rutgers, Cincinnati and Louisville. The Huskies started the season 8-7 going into conference play. UConn is a seasoned team returning 10 players, five starters. Five incoming freshmen join the Huskies.
"Just by looking at the preseason results, you know the conference will be strong and competitive," Platt said.
LAST TIME OUT
Houston Volleyball hosted the Flo Hyman Collegiate Cup Friday and Saturday at the Athletics/Alumni Center. Regional teams LSU, Baylor and North Texas attended the tournament. The Cougars started the tournament Friday night against North Texas, the teams first home game since the start of the season. The Lady Eagles outhit Houston, averaging .343 and only committing nine errors in the three-set sweep (17-25, 20-25, 24-26).
Saturday morning, Houston faced LSU. The Cougars had an outstanding second set, hitting .415 and committing on three errors. Freshman Sarita Mikals had a stellar showing in set two, as she put down six kills on 11 attempts and no errors (.545). The Tigers turned on the heat and took sets three and four 19-25. The win also sealed the tournament championship title for LSU.
Houston had over 1,000 fans in attendance during the LSU match. More than 400 were students 8th grade and younger who were to participate in the Flo Hyman Memorial Youth Volleyball Clinic following the match. The Houston Volleyball players and coaching staff put on the clinic to expose minority youth to the sport of volleyball. At the end, former Cougar Darlene Evans spoke to the students about Flo Hyman and the impact she had on volleyball and women's sports.
In the final match of the tournament, Houston went to five sets with Baylor. The two teams battled back and forth, but the Bears took the fifth set 15-13, ending on a ball handling error. Four Cougars had double figure kills while the Bears had only two.
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