Nov. 26, 2013
HOUSTON - The University of Houston volleyball will host its final match of the season against in-state rival SMU Wednesday at 5 p.m. Senior Meredith Ware will be recognized after the match for Senior Night.
The Mustangs have been on a roll during the second half of conference play. They have only lost one match since playing Houston a month ago and have moved up to clinch second place. SMU enters the match 21-9, 13-4 in the American Athletic Conference.
Junior hitter Caroline Young has earned four Conference Player of the Week awards while leading the Mustangs and ranks fourth in the conference with 3.41 kills per set. Sophomore Avery Acker is 28th in the NCAA, averaging 11.16 assists per set, and freshman Morgan Heise is averaging 3.63 digs per set.
The series between the two rivals is tied up 11-11, SMU winning the last five. SMU is 4-6 at Houston, splitting the last eight matches.
SMU has finished 13 of its 21 wins in just three sets, and the Mustangs have lost just one set in the last four matches.
Houston is set to host SMU for the season finale and Senior Night at the Athletics/Alumni Center Wednesday evening.
Lone senior Meredith Ware will be honored following the match.
Ware has been a four-year member of the volleyball team and has excelled on the court, in the classroom and in the community for the Cougars.
As a Defensive Specialist, Ware has played in 113 sets, recorded 14 assists, 6 aces, 194 digs and 1 block. She posted a career high 18 digs against Rice last season and ranks in the top 20 with a career .940 serve-receive percentage.
Ware has helped Houston to two AVCA Team Academic Awards - 2010-11, 2011-12. She was also named to the C-USA Commissioner's Honor Roll from 2010-2012 and received the C-USA Academic Medal in 2010.
LAST TIME OUT
Houston traveled to Florida for the last two road series of the season as the Cougars took on South Florida Friday evening and UCF on Sunday.
Houston came out strong early in the first set with a 7-2 lead, shaking up the Bulls. Cortney Warren hit .500 and Kaiti Waters hit .400 in set one against USF. South Florida responded quickly in set two, recording a .296 hitting average and forced 10 errors by the Cougars. USF tied the match 1-1 going into the half.
The Cougars dropped set three 19-25 and looked hungry for the win in set four. Both teams battled back and forth in the final game, tying the score 11 times. Houston took the lead 23-21, but back-to-back kills by Erica Fairs tied the match, 23-23.
Head coach Kaddie Platt was forced to use a timeout to get a game plan together. Fairs fired away again to take the lead and the match point, 24-23. A ball handling error by setter Sophie Paine ended the match 25-23.
The University of Houston volleyball team came back from a 0-2 start to defeat the UCF Golden Knights in five sets (13-25, 25-27, 25-19, 25-22, 16-14) Sunday afternoon.
UCF took a two set lead heading into the intermission.
The Cougars lit the fire after the half and took a 25-19 win in set three to stay alive. Houston recorded a .464 hitting average with 14 kills and just one error in set three.
In the final three sets Houston won, the Cougars had eight team blocks and just eight errors. UCF hit under .200 in the fourth and fifth sets while only recording eight total blocks for the match.
This is the first match the Cougars trailed 2-0 at the half and came back to win this season.
HOUSTON VOLLEYBALL NOTABLES
- This is Houston's fourth consecutive week to receive recognition from the American Athletic Conference. Since week seven of the season, the Cougars have received six honor roll selections and two freshman of the week awards. Houston has received an accolade in Week 7, 8 and 10-13. Houston missed a week after losing to SMU.
- Junior Libero Natalie Keck picked up her 500th dig of the season this weekend with a 16 dig performance against South Florida Friday night. After the weekend, the Louisville, Ky., native sits fifth in the single-season records with 525 total. She also ranks second in the career leaders with 4.34 digs per set.
- Freshman Sarita Mikals earned her fourth American Athletic Conference honor of the season as she was named to the honor roll for week 13. The 6'-0" freshman recorded 22 kills (2.44 k/s), three service aces, 28 digs and six blocks against the Florida rivals. Junior Cortney Warren also had a stellar weekend hitting .205 with 27 kills (3.00 k/s) and 10 blocks (1-9).
- Middles Kaiti Waters, Emily Howard and Courtney Smith were key to Houston's offensive tactic last weekend as the centers hit .280 at the net (23-7-57). They also recorded 20.0 blocks. Howard led the middles hitting .350 on the net. As a team Houston ranks 102nd in the country for blocks per set (2.32).
- Houston tops the American Athletic Conference in aces per set. The Cougars are now ranked 59th among NCAA Division I schools with 1.43 aces per set.
STRONGEST D IN THE LEAGUE
Defense has been the key to success for Houston Volleyball in several matches this season. The Cougars have only allowed 1390 kills (11.49 per set), ranking third in conference behind SMU (11.22) and Louisville (11.26).
Houston has the second best serve receive percentage in the conference, posting a .900 average while allowing only 109 aces.
Junior libero Natalie Keck leads the Cougar back row defense with 525 digs this season, ranking sixth among conference individuals. She has recorded 1,428 digs so far in her career and sits second in all-time career leaders averaging 4.22 digs per set.
The Cougars top the American in service aces with 173 total, (1.43 per set). The mark ranks 59th in the nation.
Middle blocker Kaiti Waters has been one of Houston's main defenses at the net. She has a total 101.0 blocks (8-93) on the season. The junior ranks second among the American, averaging 1.28 blocks per set.