CHICAGO -- For the second consecutive season the University of Houston volleyball team has had a double-digit win streak snapped by Conference USA foe DePaul by the narrowest of margins.
Last year the Cougars saw its 10-match win-streak snapped at home by DePaul in a contest that was decided by a score of three games to two. On Sunday afternoon in Chicago the Blue Demons turned the trick again, snapping UH's 11-match win streak by an identical 3-2 score at the DePaul Athletics Center.
With a 17-15, 2-15, 7-15, 15-10, 15-11 road loss, the Cougars experienced defeat for the first time in a full month of competition. The team is now in a tie for the lead of the C-USA National Division and still supporting a 15-4 record overall. Three of those four losses have come in the rally-scored fifth game of a match.
Though Houston had chances to pull out a win, the Cougars were without its main weapon in senior hitter Jennifer Wittenburg for the final four games of the match. After rolling up eight kills and helping UH stay close (15-14) in game one, the nation's No. 2 player for kills per game went down with an injury. The Blue Demons held-on for a 17-15 win, but Houston came back and coasted to a pair of wins in games two and three, 15-2, 15-7.
The Cougars then jumped out to a 5-0 lead in game four but a DePaul run tied the games at two apiece, sending UH to a rally-scored fifth game for the first time since September 15. Houston again jumped out to a 9-5 advantage in the finale, but a 10-2 Blue Demon rally sealed the game and match. The Cougars were left a distinct feeling of deja v.
Houston was led on the day by senior hitter Bobbi Stewart, who tied a season-high with 27 kills. Sophomore Jane Anne Karasek played well in Wittenburg's absence, posting 14 kills on 36 attempts while tying a career-high with 16 defensive digs. DePaul's Stephanie Bishop spiked 20 kills with 23 defensive digs.
The Cougars will next face Conference USA National Division rival South Florida at home in Hofheinz Pavilion on Saturday Oct. 21. Both teams are tied for first place in the division standings with 8-1 records. First serve with the Bulls will be at 7:30 p.m.
Conference USA Volleyball Linescore Houston 15 15 15 10 11 DePaul 17 2 7 15 15 Kill Leaders Houston: Bobbi Stewart 27, Jane Anne Karasek 14; DePaul: Stephanie Bishop 20, Melissa Nordine 18; Records Houston 15-4, 8-1; DePaul 15-5, 6-2;