HOUSTON -- Coming off a huge 3-1 win last Friday over Rice, the University of Houston volleyball team will look to wrap up its 2012 home slate with two victories when it hosts UCF on Friday at 7 p.m. and Southern Miss on Sunday at 1 p.m. in Conference USA action in the Athletics/Alumni Center.
The Cougars return to action with four regular season games left, two of which will be played in Houston. Sitting in a tie for sixth in Conference USA standings, Houston holds a 7-15 overall record and a 6-6 mark in league play.
During its last time out, the Cougars handed second-place Rice just its third league loss of the year with a 3-1 victory. Houston tallied 55 kills and 26 block assists. Leading the way was senior Katie Norris with 17 kills, followed by freshman Emily Howard with a career-high 11 kills. Howard also led the blocking team with seven block assists, while sophomore Natalie Keck chipped in with 19 digs on the defensive end.
ABOUT HOUSTON Houston is hitting .178 as a team this year, averaging 11.8 kills per set. Norris paces the team offensively with 317 kills and 3.87 per set. Seniors Chandace Tryon and Stephanie Nwachukwu are contributing with 218 and 148 kills, respectively. Senior setter Abby Simmons paces the team with 737 assists and 8.99 per set. Defensively, Keck leads Houston with 299 digs, while freshman Olivia O'Dell and Norris add 205 and 204, respectively. The Cougars are out blocking their opponents, 170.0 to 134.0 with Tryon leading the way with 87 total blocks and 69 block assists.
2012 Conference USA Setter of the Week (Oct. 15, 2012)
Played one season at Houston after transferring from Utah
Played in 82 sets, 22 matches with 20 starts
Totaled 737 assists for a .931 set percentage
Career-high 56 assists, vs. Appalachian State (Aug. 31, 2012) at Houston
Career-high 18 digs, vs. Tulane (Oct. 5, 2012) at Houston
Has tallied eight double-doubles
ABOUT UCF UCF enters Friday's contest with an 11-13 overall record and an 8-4 mark in Conference USA play. The Knights have won six of their last seven contests, including the last four by a margin of 12-2. As a team, UCF is hitting .200 with 1,132 kills, led by Angelica Crump's 283. Setter Marie Reiterova paces the squad with 684 assists and Meredith Murphy has a team-best 379 digs to her name.
Houston and UCF will meet for the first time this season. The Cougars own the all-time series at 8-1 with its only loss coming last season. The last meeting between the two teams ended in a 3-2 victory for UCF, Houston's only all-time loss against the Knights.
ABOUT SOUTHERN MISS Southern Miss will meet Rice on Friday before playing Houston on Sunday. The Golden Eagles are 8-16 overall and 4-8 in Conference USA play. They have won two straight after dropping seven straight. Southern Miss is hitting .187 with 1,126 kills, led by Halie Ecker's 278. Setter Kristen Fleming has totaled 930 assists, while Elizabeth Rinaudo has a team-high 398 digs to her name.
Houston and Southern Miss will meet for the 26th time with the Cougars owning the series at 19-6. The Eagles earned a 3-1 victory in the two teams' last meeting a year ago.