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Monday, November 29, 1999
Houston, Texas
Volume 65, Issue 68

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UH volleyball splits weekend matches

By Andrew J. Ferraro
Daily Cougar Staff

The UH volleyball team had just about all it could handle in a pair of matches over the weekend. Playing host of the 1999 C-USA Thanksgiving Challenge, UH was looking to do a bit of fine-tuning before heading elsewhere for the NCAA tournament.

After coming from behind and defeating Arkansas-Little Rock 3-2 on Friday night, Houston was swept by No. 23 Arkansas on Saturday.

Playing in her final match ever at Hofheinz Pavilion, senior hitter Jillian King led the Cougars with 13 kills and posted a .233 hitting percentage.

Juniors Michelle Frazier and Bobbi Stewart and freshman Jane Anne Karasek followed with seven kills each and Frazier added 11 defensive digs and four blocks. Karasek led all Cougars with a .400 hitting percentage.

There was little the Cougars could do to stop the Arkansas tandem of Yarleen Santiago and Eftila Tanellari, who posted 18 and 10 kills, respectively. Santiago finished with a hitting percentage of .441 and Taylor followed, hitting .429.

"I thought I played pretty good and it was nice to go out with a bang," King said. "I'm ready to move on and I know the rest of the team is too. I think playing a team like Arkansas before moving on to the NCAAs was good for us. This is the kind of competition we are going to be seeing in the first round."

Senior Kristin Guidish, also playing in her last match at Hofheinz, finished with six kills and six defensive digs.

In the first match on Friday night, the Cougars dug down and did something that had been not done in four years.

After dropping the first two games of the match, UH responded with three straight, convincing wins in Games 3, 4 and 5 and stole a match from Arkansas-Little Rock.

The last time UH won a match after dropping the first two games was in October of 1995 when it defeated Texas Tech 3-2 in Houston.

On Friday night, Houston battled in Games 1 and 2, but could not find a way to hold off the Trojans, who fell to 19-12 on the year.

But after the 10-minute break, Houston solved all its problems and had no trouble winning the match.

C-USA Co-Player of the Year Frazier was just one kill shy of a triple-double as she had 10 defensive digs, nine kills and a match-high 10 blocks.

"Our first 'team' that showed up had 21 hitting errors in the first two games, and that is not pleasant," Frazier said. "That's not going to help our game any when you are hitting the ball out of bounds and giving them a lot of easy points.

"In Games 3 and 4, we played good defense, hit the ball in the court and blocked some balls," she said.

Jennifer Wittenburg, playing her first match at Hofheinz Pavilion in nearly two months, paced Houston with a team-high 23 kills and a .348 hitting percentage.

"It's been a while since I played here at home in front of my family and it's exciting to get the win and I wanted to play well for them," Wittenburg said. "Getting these wins this weekend is very important so we've got to give it our all."

Wittenburg was quick to point out that the difference in the way the Cougars played between Games 2 and 3 was just a matter of getting the balls to land on the right side of the lines.

"Basically, we decided to hit balls in bounds and not lose," Wittenburg said. "We didn't want to go down on a bad note like that."

Wittenburg was out of action for the last six weeks due to a shoulder injury and returned to play last weekend in the C-USA championship tournament in Tampa, Fla.

King added 15 kills, 19 digs and a .324 hitting percentage as she played the first of her last two matches at Hofheinz Pavilion. Stewart finished with 10 kills, 18 defensive digs and four blocks.
 

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