By Andrew J. Ferraro
Daily Cougar Staff
CINCINNATI, Ohio - The University of Houston Cougar volleyball team did not have a good weekend.
First of all, the travel arrangements to Louisville got mixed up. When they got to the airport on Thursday afternoon, an airport employee informed the team that their plane had left two hours ago and that they would have to wait for the next one.
And when they finally did get on the plane, the toilet didn't flush and their <I>luxuroius<P> DC-9 had to be repaired.
Finally they arrived in the great state of Kentucky, only to be beaten by the University of Louisville, 3-1 (15-8, 7-15, 9-15, 9-15). Tough defeat. First C-USA loss. On to Cincinnati.
Things didn't get better in the Queen City as the Bearcats handed the Cougars their first-ever 3-0 defeat in C-USA play, tripping up UH 15-11, 15-10 and 15-6.
"We made a lot of mistakes this weekend and both of the teams we came up here to play made us pay for them," UH sophomore setter Morgan Wallen said. "Louisville changed up their offense on us after we beat them in game one and I think we just couldn't get it going against UC."
Houston had leads in all three games Sunday afternoon, but allowed the Bearcats to chip away at the score by making what Wallen described as too many mental mistakes.
In game one, the Cougars had leads of 5-1 and 8-7, before UC pulled away with an 8-3 run, taking a 1-0 lead.
The Cougars led 5-4 early in the second game, only to see Cincinnati run away with the game thanks to six Houston attacking errors, including three-straight to end the game.
Although it appeared that UH would have enough to pull out at least one victory on Sunday, they failed to take advantage of a 6-1, game-three lead.
UC scored 14 straight points to clinch their first-ever win over Houston and avenge a season-ending loss a year ago in the 1997 C-USA Volleyball Championships.
"We're a very young team and sporadic is about the only way to describe our play to this point," Cincinnati head coach Laura Alford said. "Last year really wasn't on their brains this afternoon, as was Friday's loss (UC was defeated by South Florida, 3-2, after taking a 2-0 lead).
"Really, we have been our own toughest opponent this year."
At this point the Cougars said that they could not wait to get out of Cincinnati, but even that didn't go according to plan.
Strong storms in the Houston area delayed the flight home and made what could have been a very productive weekend, a weekend the Cougars say they can't wait to forget.
"All we have to do is go to practice, get to work and iron out all the kinks," Wallen added. "We just made too many little, mental mistakes."