Road wins needed for showdown with Bulls

Jason Caesar Consolacion

Staff Writer

After making quick work of the Sam Houston LadyKats on Wednesday, the UH Cougar volleyball team returns to conference action when it travels to Birmingham to take on the UAB Blazers at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, then to Memphis to play the Tigers at 2 p.m. on Sunday.

The Cougars (17-8) begin the final stretch of three consecutive Conference USA matches, all of which are on the road. Tied for first place in the National Division with South Florida (12-1), Houston must face UAB (13-16) and Memphis (18-8) before the showdown against South Florida next week.

The Blazers (4-8 C-USA) have lost four matches in a row, including an 0-3 loss to Memphis on Halloween night.

Senior Tonya Larson is ranked second in C-USA averaging 5.21 kills per game while junior Terri Steeb is first in the conference with a .389 hitting percentage. Hailey Isham leads the conference in blocks per game with a 1.44 average and Karyn Oliver ranks seventh in the same category averaging 1.11. Junior Abby Thatcher averages 11.03 assists per game, good for seventh in C-USA.

The Tigers (6-6 C-USA) come off the 3-0 victory over UAB and will play South Florida on Friday before hosting UH on Sunday.

The team features senior Becky Tigert who leads the team averaging 3.88 kills and 0.42 service aces per game. Junior Jessica Baley averages 11.34 assists per game while Jenni Rosselli averages 0.93 blocks.

Memphis (6-29 in 1996) has had a complete turnaround from last year, a sweet surprise for head coach Carrie Yerty considering the team lost three key starters.

"We've had one of our best recruiting classes this year and they've responded very well," Yerty said. "This is my first recruiting class and I wanted to make sure it would be a good one."

The Cougars' C-USA Player of the Week Michelle Frazier leads Houston with a .293 hitting percentage. Frazier has been playing exceptionally well for head coach Bill Walton who expressed his thoughts on the freshman.

"Michelle has been a great addition to our team. This year, we needed someone to fill in the void at middle hitter and she has come in and dominated the position."

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