|Tuesday, September 7, 1999||
Volume 65, Issue 11
UH Cross Country
Crowne Plaza Invitational tourney
By Andrew J. Ferraro
Saying that the UH Cougar Volleyball team had a pretty good weekend would be understating things a bit.
Houston (3-1) played three heart-stopping matches en route to a 3-0 record this weekend in the 1999 Crowne Plaza Medical Center Houston Invitational, claiming first place with victories over Loyola-Chicago (15-5, 13-15, 15-7, 15-2), Temple (15-10, 15-12, 7-15, 8-15, 15-12) and Louisiana State (19-17, 15-7, 14-16, 15-13).
Junior transfer Jennifer Wittenberg led Houston with 47 kills in the three matches, and had there been a MVP named for the tournament, many of the votes would have gone her way. She was simply unstoppable in the first two matches, posting 40 kills in the wins over Loyola-Chicago and Temple.
UH rightside hitter Jillian King sets up to record one of her 44 kills in this weekend's Crowne Plaza Houston Invitational Tournament.
Max Lacayo/The Daily Cougar
"It really feels good to get these wins," Wittenberg said after her 25-kill performance against Temple on Friday night. "That's the first time that I've won a game in three years." Wittenberg transferred to UH from UCLA this year and hardly played at southern California due to injury.
But after the first four matches, she has shown that she is going to be a big part of the Cougars run to win their second C-USA championship in three seasons.
Wittenberg praised the performance of junior setter Morgan Wallen and said that she is making it really easy for her to put the ball past the opponents.
"Morgan was really consistent this weekend and she is setting up a lot of good things for this offense," said Wittenberg. "She moved their blockers around and opened up some more space for us to put the ball by them."
Senior hitter Jillian King would have been a very close second in the MVP voting and likely would have taken many of the votes for her performance in the four-game win over LSU.
King floored a career-high 24 kills against the Tigers and finished the tournament with 44 kills overall. She led the Cougars in defensive digs in two of the matches with 12 against Loyola and 15 against LSU.
Perhaps the most consistent player over the weekend for Houston was junior hitter Michelle Frazier.
Frazier posted double-digit kill totals in all three matches with 11 against Loyola, 13 against Temple and 20 against the LSU Tigers. But it was her hitting percentage that set her apart from the rest. For the weekend, Frazier hit a composite .512 in the tournament.
"All of my hitters were on this weekend," said Wallen who totaled 178 assists in the tournament. "It's really nice when you know that you can go to any of them at any given time. And that is how I felt this weekend."
In what turned out to be the most convincing win of the tournament, UH defeated a Loyola-Chicago team that was playing its first match of the season.
Despite dropping the second game in that match, the Cougars surrendered just 14 points in the other three games, combined.
Sarah Poglits led the Ramblers, with 14 kills. Kelly Price followed with 10.
The second match against Temple proved to be for the championship, as the Owls would only lose to UH in the tournament.
After winning the first two games, the Cougars all but fell apart as Temple won easily in games three and four, allowing just seven and eight points respectively.
But after falling behind early in the fifth and final game, Houston came alive defensively and stopped the Owls at 12 points and never surrendered.
After winning the first two games, UH blew a 12-3 lead in game three against LSU, but rallied in game four to clinch the victory. LSU was 0-3 this weekend.
Junior Stephanie Heiskell contributed with 33 kills in the tournament and senior Kristin Guidish added 13 kills and 28 digs.
Leslie Lasiter and Jane Anne Karasek, both true freshmen on this year's squad, played solidly this weekend as they added five and 13 kills, respectively.
Freshman Donna Sellen led the team in digs in the second match with 13 and followed that performance with 14 in the win over LSU. Sellen, who saw action in all nine games over the final two matches, said that she has adjusted well to playing collegiate volleyball.
"It felt amazing being out there this weekend," Sellen said. "By the
third game (against Temple) I wasn't really all that nervous anymore. And
then by the fifth game, I was fine. I just felt great out there."
Send comments to