Wednesday, September 29, 1999
Houston, Texas
Volume 65, Issue 27

Cougar Comics Online
UH/C-USA Volleyball Notebook

Sports Opinion

About the Cougar

It doesn't get any easier

UH volleyball team faces SMU before continuing C-USA play

UH/C-USA Volleyball Notebook

Andrew J. Ferraro

At about the same time Houston Astros right fielder Bill Spiers was dropped to the field at Milwaukee's Country Stadium on Friday night, the UH Cougar volleyball team was under attack in Hattiesburg, Miss.

Although an irate fan attacking a player at "Beer Field" in Wisconsin isn't all that surprising, the thought of the Cougars losing a Conference USA game to the Golden Eagles would be rather shocking.

OK, enough with all the suspense -- the Cougars didn't lose. They beat USM in five games and after another win on Sunday against Tulane in New Orleans, they are now 3-0 in C-USA play.

Houston, who now owns a perfect 3-0 record in five-game matches, doesn't have to explain what could have been a disastrous loss.

Maybe I'm not giving Southern Miss enough credit. It has always been one of the better defensive teams in the league and tends to frustrate opponents with consistent digging and few mental mistakes.

However, the Golden Eagles are famous for extending the time it usually takes to complete a match. They play tedious, grueling, "too bad it's not autographed pillow night" volleyball.

The next match: UH at SMU, 7 p.m. tonight -- Dallas

The Cougars are in Dallas tonight to take on the Southern Methodist Mustangs at Moody Coliseum.

The Mustangs' senior outside hitter, Erin Pryor, has been named the Western Athletic Conference Volleyball Player of the Week for her play at last weekend's Husky Classic in Storrs, Conn. It is the first such honor for an SMU volleyball player.

The Round Rock native led SMU to a 3-1 record at the tournament as the Mustangs improved to 10-6 on the season, winning its first tournament title on the road.

SMU defeated Harvard 3-0, Connecticut 3-1 and New Mexico 3-1 while losing to New Hampshire 3-2. For the week, Pryor hit .301 with 64 kills, 32 digs, five total blocks and five assists.

Barry Watson/The Daily Cougar

The UH volleyball team will face a tough match with SMU in Dalls tonight before continuing conference play against UNC Charlotte and Saint Louis at Hofheinz Pavilion this weekend.

In a three-game pounding of Harvard, Pryor hit a school-record setting .720 with 19 kills and one error in 25 attempts. Her record for hitting percentage in a three-game match is 120 points above the previous record of .600 set by Tina Harding against Georgia on Sept. 20, 1997. It is also the highest hitting percentage by an SMU player in any match.

Her 19 kills also tie Pryor's own school record for kills in a three-game match. She had 19 kills against the University of Texas-El Paso Oct. 15, 1996.

With 64 kills this weekend, Pryor moved into 9th place all time in the WAC with 1,527 kills over her career -- she is 100 kills shy of fifth place. With a career average of 3.80 kills per game, Pryor is now tied for ninth all-time in the WAC.

C-USA Player of the Week

Marquette's Vesna Grbavac is the C-USA Player of the Week for the period ending Sept. 26. The sophomore outside hitter paced the Golden Eagles to three victories, including a pair of league wins that have head coach Laura Farina's club off to its best C-USA start in school history (2-0).

Marquette has won eight-straight matches and 11 of its last 12. Grbavac had 22 kills and hit .488 in a 3-1 win at Illinois -Chicago Sept. 21. She followed that with a .368 hitting percentage and 10 kills in a 3-0 win over Memphis Sept. 24. She also posted a team season-high four aces in a 3-0 sweep of UAB Sunday.

For the week, she hit .416 with 40 kills, 22 digs and eight service aces.

Coming attractions

The following is a brief look at what is happening with the Cougars next two C-USA opponents.

This Friday and Sunday, the Cougars will host UNC Charlotte and Saint Louis, respectively, at Hofheinz Pavilion. Friday's match will begin at 7:30 p.m. and first serve on Sunday is slated for 2 p.m.

UNC Charlotte 49ers (5-8, 1-2 C-USA) -- Emily Bowers' 19 kills, nine digs and six blocks against Western Illinois keyed the 49ers' win and helped earn the senior middle hitter a spot on the Saint Louis Billiken Invitational All-Tournament team.

St. Louis Billikens (15-2, 2-1 C-USA) -- In her first career start Sept. 21 at Eastern Illinois, freshman setter Beth Middendorf turned in a record-setting performance in the Billikens' 3-2 victory.

With 84 assists, Middendorf set a single-match school mark and tied the C-USA single-match standard for freshman. Overall, the 84 assists are the second-best single-match performance in league history.

As a team, Saint Louis tied the school record with 266 attempts and set school marks for kills (104) and assists (95). The kill and assist totals are the second-best single-match team performance in C-USA history, while the 266 assists are tied for fourth.

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