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Wednesday, September 15, 1999
Houston, Texas
Volume 65, Issue 17

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Michelle Denommé

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C-USA teams set to renew rivalries Thursday

UH/C-USA Volleyball Notebook

Andrew Ferraro

The Cougar Volleyball team is ready to start Conference USA play. Quite likely, the Cougars have faced enough of the elite teams that lose on the average of next to never. Last week, Houston was 0-4 against three ranked teams (BYU, Ohio State and Texas) and one that will be ranked very soon (Loyola Marymount).

Right about now, South Florida looks like a team that is going to have to pay for the kind of schedule the Cougars have had to endure in the last six days. "Unleash" is the key word in this report, and after Thursday, even that term may be redefined.

UH vs. Texas: the recap

The UH volleyball team fell short in its bid to upset No. 8 Texas, losing to the national powerhouse in three straight games 15-11, 15-4, 15-7 on Tuesday.

In front of 1,268 at Gregory Gymnasium in Austin, the Longhorns (5-0) were paced by Sandra Reboucas‚ 12 kills and .333 hitting percentage. Erin Aldrich and Kathy Tilson were right behind with 11 kills each. Aldrich posted a .240 hitting percentage on the night, while Tilson led the Longhorns with a .455 hitting percentage.

The Cougars were led by Jillian King's 10 kills, while Jennifer Wittenburg added nine and Kristen Guidish posted six. Guidish led the team with 13 digs and Morgan Wallen recorded 11 of her own.

The loss, Houston's fourth in a row, drops the Cougars to 3-5 on the season.

Coming attractions

Four teams compete for the C-USA title every year. Louisville, Houston and South Florida are always the top three, and there is no reason why that would change anytime in the near future. Then you have to throw in Cincinnati, just because it competes hard, is coached well and rounds out the top every year.

The good news is this: Houston is the heavy favorite in the C-USA National Division hands down, but the same can be said for Louisville in the American Division. Louisville is also favored to win the conference title, its second in a row.

The start of conference play Thursday brings a fresh start and perspective on the season. These are the games that count. These are the games that get you into the postseason.

The South Florida Bulls are C-USA enemy No. 1 for Houston. The 7:30 p.m. showdown Thursday will feature the powerful hitting Cougar offense against a team that could already be in trouble in the early goings of 1999.


Michelle Frazier (11) will lead the Cougars against South Florida as Conference USA begins conference play Thursday.

Max Lacayo/The Daily Cougar

South Florida's preseason All-Conference Player of the Year Michelle Collier, who started the season strong, suffered a potential season ending knee injury at the U.S. Bank Tournament in Lincoln, Neb. That was not good for the Bulls, who were swept in that tourney after a 3-0 run out of the gate.

Another interesting twist: Former UH assistant coach Nancy Mueller will return to Hofheinz Pavilion as the head coach of South Florida. Mueller served under UH head coach Bill Walton for four seasons, 1995 through '98.

Around the league

Here's a brief look at what is happening with UH's next two C-USA opponents. After Thursday's opener against USF, the Cougars will be traveling to Hattiesburg, Miss., and New Orleans, La., for a pair of matches against National Division foes Southern Miss and Tulane, respectively.

Southern Miss Golden Eagles 

(5-3, 0-0 C-USA)

After reeling off five consecutive victories to start the season, the Golden Eagles completed the Motorola Invitational with losses to Michigan State, New Hampshire and tournament host Massachusetts. Tosha Barnicoat moved into second place on the school's all-time list with digs (1,479).

Tulane Green Wave 

(4-3, 0-0 C-USA)

Junior Kim Sentmore led the Green Wave to two wins and a runner-up finish in the LSU Tournament this past weekend. She recorded a double-double and had a career-high 23 kills in the championship match against the host Louisiana State. Sentmore and Lacey Vicknair were both named to the All-Tournament team.

C-USA Player of the Week

Saint Louis senior middle hitter Laura Risley led the Billikens to the championship of the Stephen F. Austin Invitational and a perfect 5-0 record on the week.

Risley had three double-doubles highlighted by a 24-kill, 13-dig match against University of Texas at El Paso and a 20-kill, 19-dig match versus Louisiana Tech. For her efforts, she was named tournament MVP.
 

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