Cougars Fall To No. 1 Seed South Florida 3-2
Charlotte, N.C. -- The University of Houston volleyball team out-hit, out-blocked and even out-scored South Florida, the No. 1 seed at the 2000 Healthy Choice Conference USA Volleyball Tournament, but it was the Bulls that pulled out a narrow win in the rally-scored fifth game to claim Saturday's first semi-final in Charlotte by a score of three games to two.
A 15-8, 7-15, 15-11, 4-15, 15-13 UH defeat has eliminated the Cougars (20-9) from the tournament. South Florida advances to play the winner of the Cincinnati-Louisville match to be played later Saturday evening. Houston has two more home matches before awaiting a possible at-large selection to the NCAA Tournament on November 26.
A win over South Florida would have helped UH with the selection committee, and the Cougars appeared to be on track for knocking-off the No. 1 seeded Bulls. After a big 15-4 win in game four Houston was ahead 12-9 in game five but began to struggle with the USF serve. The result was that Cougars could not get good attack attempts while the Bulls began to rally.
Houston also let an opportunity to go ahead two-games-to-one slip away earlier in the match. In game three the Cougars jumped out to an 8-2 lead but four-consecutive missed serves allowed the Bulls to regroup and tie the score 9-9. UH then went ahead 11-10 but stalled as South Florida rallied for a 15-11 win.
For the match the Cougars had a better hitting percentage (.136 to .064), more blocks (15.0 to 13.5) and even more points (62 to 56), but it is the Bulls who advance with a 3-2 semi-final victory.
Houston will host a tournament, the UH Holiday Classic, on the final week of the season next Friday and Saturday. The Cougars will face Texas-San Antonio on November 24 at 7:30 p.m. SMU will meet LSU at 5:30 p.m. in an early match. The Classic's Championship and Consolation matches will be at 12:30 and 3:00 p.m. Saturday.
Conference USA Tournament Semi-Final Houston 8 15 11 15 13 South Florida 15 7 15 4 15 Kill Leaders Jennifer Wittenburg (UH) 24; Bobbi Stweart (UH) 19; Michelle Collier (USF) 21; Crissy Bush (USF) 14; Records Houston (20-9); South Florida (27-4)