Preview: Volleyball to Wrap up 2012 Home Slate; Honor Seniors Sunday

Oct. 31, 2012

  Houston vs. UCF - Southern Miss | Houston, Texas | 7:00 p.m. CT - 1 p.m. CT | Athletics/Alumni Center
vs. UCF  GameTracker | Live Video
vs. Southern Miss  GameTracker | Live Video
Information  Conference USA Notebook | Twitter (@UHCougarVB)

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.

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.


No. 3 | Stephanie Nwachukwu | Houston, Texas

  • Two-time Conference USA Academic Medal
  • Three-time Commissioner's Honor Roll
  • 2010-11 Conference USA All-Academic Team
  • Three-Year Letterwinner
  • Played in 324 sets, 96 matches with 44 starts
  • Totaled 693 kills
  • Totaled 186 blocks, 176 block assists, 10 block solos
  • Career-high 16 kills, three times, last coming vs. Rice (Nov. 23, 2011)
  • Career-high seven blocks, vs. Oklahoma (Sept. 4, 2010)
  • Has tallied 31 double-digit kills games

No. 6  | Katie Norris | Humble, Texas

  • Three-time All-Tournament Team selection (2012)
  • 2012 Team Captain
  • 2011 Second Team All-Conference USA
  • Conference USA Offensive Player of the Week (Sept. 26, 2011)
  • Two-Year Letterwinner
  • Played in 200 sets
  • Started and played in all 52 matches
  • Totaled 666 kills
  • Totaled 40 service aces
  • Totaled 108 total blocks
  • Career-high 25 kills, vs. Marshall (Nov. 5, 2011)
  • Career-high 19 digs, vs. Tulsa (Sept. 28, 2012)
  • Has tallied 36 double-digit kill efforts
  • Has tallied 11 double-doubles

No. 11 | Chandace Tryon | Corpus Christi, Texas

  • 2011 Second Team All-Conference USA
  • 2011 COBRA Magazine All-Midsouth Region Team
  • 2011-12 Commissioner's Honor Roll
  • 2010 First Team All-Conference USA
  • 2010 COBRA Magazine All-Preseason Third Team
  • Three-Year Letterwinner
  • Played 402 sets, 111 matches with 105 starts
  • Totaled 879 kills
  • Tallied a .321 career attacking percentage for third-best all-time
  • Totaled 292 block assists for ninth-best all-time
  • Career-high 27 kills, vs. Appalachian State (Aug. 31, 2012)
  • Career-high 10 block assists, at Memphis (Oct. 15, 2010) for a double-double
  • Has tallied 43 double-digit kills games

No. 14 | Abby Simmons | Phoenix, Ariz.

  • 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

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.

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.

Follow Houston Volleyball on Twitter @UHCougarVB and "Like" /HoustonCougarVolleyball on Facebook.

Following its final two home games, Houston will wrap up regular season play next on Nov. 9-11 when it travels to SMU and Tulsa.             



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