STOCKTON, Calif. -- As the saying goes, "all good things..."
The University of Houston volleyball team's 2000 season, complete with 21 wins and a host of outstanding team and individual performances, has come to end in the first round of the NCAA Tournament in Stockton, California. The Cougars were defeated by state-rival Texas A&M Friday night, Dec. 1, in the Mideast Regional by the scores of 15-6, 15-1, 15-8.
Houston struggled to get its offense in gear and for the most part worked from a deficit in all three of its NCAA Tournament games at the Spanos Center on the University of the Pacific campus. Texas A&M out-hit UH .376 to .108 and had more kills, digs and blocks to advance to face host Pacific in the second round. Houston head Bill Walton said the key was his team could never get in-sync because of its passing.
"I thought we had a difficult time passing serve tonight," Walton said. "Our side-out offense wasn't very good and it seemed like we gave them a lot of free balls. When you give a team free balls they will have a lot of options. When we did finally pass serve, A&M played excellent defense. We played from behind most of the night but give them credit. They played excellent.
"We had trouble stopping their outside hitters," Walton added. "All year long the other team's middles were what gave us trouble, including our first match with A&M. Tonight their outside hitters were extremely effective."
The Cougars held a 4-2 lead in game one and were close in game three, 11-8, but could not get over the hump in the team's 12th-straight postseason appearance. UH was led in by Jennifer Wittenburg's 8 kills and 7 defensive digs. Houston ends the year 21-11 overall and with an active streak of 10-straight bids to the NCAA Tournament.
NCAA Tournament First Round Houston 6 1 8 Texas A&M 15 15 15
Kill Leaders Jennifer Wittenburg (UH) 8, Erin Gibson (A&M) 19,
Records Houston (21-11), Texas A&M (20-8)