Preview: Volleyball Travels to SMU, Tulsa for Final C-USA Weekend

Natalie Keck, Katie Norris

Nov. 8, 2012

  Houston at SMU - Tulsa | Dallas, Texas - Tulsa, Okla. | 7:00 p.m. CT - 1 p.m. CT
at SMU  GameTracker | Live Video
at Tulsa  GameTracker | Live Video
Information  Conference USA Notebook | Twitter (@UHCougarVB)

HOUSTON -- The University of Houston volleyball team will hit the road for its final regular season weekend when it travels to SMU for a 7 p.m. Friday match and Tulsa for a 1 p.m. Sunday match in Conference USA play.
The Cougars currently sit in sixth place in league standings with an overall record of 8-16 and a 7-7 mark in conference action.
Houston is coming off a 3-0 sweep of Southern Miss last Sunday as seniors Katie Norris and Stephanie Nwachukwu led the offense with 16 and 10 kills, respectively. The duo teamed up with classmate and setter Abby Simmons, who paced the offense with 36 assists. Defensively, Norris notched 12 digs and her 13th career double-double in the win.
Houston enters the weekend, having won two of its last three home contests and sits at 3-5 on the road this season. The Cougars rank second in C-USA matches in blocks with 2.46 blocks per set just behind UTEP's 2.55. Leading the way in the kills category are seniors Norris (346), Chandace Tryon (233) and Nwachukwu (163), while freshman Emily Howard is having a strong debut season with 129 kills. Tryon paces the team with an impressive .319 hitting percentage and Simmons leads the team with 808 assists and 17 service aces. Defensively, five Cougars have 100+ digs, led by sophomore libero Natalie Keck's 323, Norris' 227 and freshman Olivia O'Dell's 221. Tryon is solid around the net, helping Houston's blocking game with 95 total blocks and 77 block assists.
SMU will host Houston on Friday, holding an overall record of 9-17 and 6-8 in Conference USA. The Mustangs are coming off back-to-back losses on the road and have dropped four of its last five games. SMU is led offensively by Caroline Young's 328 kills and 865 attempts, while Maddie Lozano paces the squad with 110 total blocks. Setter Olivia Bailey has 799 assists and Susan Lewis leads the defense with 339 digs.
SMU and Houston will meet for the 21st time in school history with the Cougars owning the series at 11-9. Houston and SMU last met back on Sept. 30 at home when the Cougars earned a 3-0 sweep over the Mustangs.
Tulsa enters the final weekend of play, leading the league in standings with a 12-2 record and a 19-9 overall mark and will host Rice on Friday. Tulsa is coming into the weekend having won 12 of its last 14 games, but dropped its most recent, 3-2, to UTEP. The Golden Hurricane are led by 2011 Player of the Year Tyler Henderson's 528 kills and conference-best 5.13 per set and Jessica Adams with 543 digs.
Houston and Tulsa will meet for the second time this season and 15th time in school history as the Golden Hurricane paces the all-time series at 9-5. The last meeting between the two teams came back on Sept. 28 in Houston as Tulsa edged the Cougars, 3-2.

The Conference USA Championship will be held in Tulsa next weekend (Nov. 16-18). The Top 8 teams from the league will compete. Official seeding and pairings will be available following the conclusion of Sunday's matches. For more information regarding the Championship, visit http://www.conferenceusa.com/championships/w-volley-championship-12.html.

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

Following the weekend action, Houston will take part in the Conference USA Championship held in Tulsa, Okla. on Nov. 16-18. The official seeding will be available following the conclusion of Sunday's match.        



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