Monday, August 28, 2000
Houston, Texas
Volume 66, Issue 6 

Cougar Comics Online


Sports Opinion

About the Cougar

Current volleyball team beats past Cougar stars

By Crystal J. Doucette
Daily Cougar Staff

It was hard to decide which team to root for in Hofheinz Pavilion on Saturday afternoon -- especially when they were both wearing Cougar red.

The varsity team played the alumnae team in a five-game match, defeating the graduated players 15-8, 15-7, 15-10, 15-7 and 15-6.

Jennifer Wittenburg led the varsity attack with 25 kills in 42 attempts with a .429 hitting percentage. Bobbi Stewart killed 15 of 38 with a .395 and Michelle Frazier followed with 12 kills and a .435.

The alumnae team featured some premiere players of past UH teams, including Jillian King and Kristin Guidish, two players from last year's varsity team.

Guidish set first place school records for most digs, and most digs per game, 3.5.

Two other record setters, former All-American Lilly Denoon and Southwest Conference 1980s All-Decade team member Latisha Brown, helped lead the alumnae squad. Denoon had 17 kills for the match and Brown added 11.

Denoon set seven school records at UH. Alumnae team coach Latisha Brown, known as Latisha Charles while at UH, set six.

Will Cordray/The Daily Cougar

Jennifer Wittenburg and Jillian King, shown here against Louisville, were teammates last year, but they were on opposite sides of the court Saturday when the UH volleyball team played an alumnae squad.

The exhibition game gave the players a chance to meet each other and show why they are and were some of the best players UH volleyball has to offer.

"It's just really good to come out here and play with the people you used to play with," Denoon said. "People got little babies, you didn't even know people were pregnant. People getting married, you didn't even know people were together."

Denoon, who plays professionally in Puerto Rico, was pleased with this year's varsity team.

"It's always good to come out and see the Cougars. They look good, especially Jennifer (Wittenburg)," Denoon said.

Both Wittenburg and Conference USA Preseason Player of the Year Frazier were happy with their team's overall play, but felt that its service reception has room for improvement.

"Passing is always important," Frazier said. "We just need a lot more reps of that."

"We really need to focus in on our passing," Wittenburg said. "Staying reactive and not hesitating."

Walton is also concerned with the team's passing. He said that the team is vulnerable to short serves and needs to be more consistent with passing and setting in order to help the hitter.

"The pressure is on the hitters to try and do more with the ball than they probably should because of what's happening with the passing and setting," Walton said.

Junior transfer Gabriela Carbone started in four of the five games against the alumnae team, serving a handful of aces. Carbone served 120 aces last season at Seward County Community College in Liberal, Kansas.

Freshmen Monica Prince and Christina Green were able to show their ability on the court in a game situation.

"The freshmen are looking real good," Walton said. "I thought Christina played well. Monica's playing excellent defense. I think they're both going to be able to contribute consistently this year."

Freshman Chandra Kerley is out for the season with a broken foot while redshirt freshman Amanda Baggett is well on the path to recovery from a torn anterior cruciate ligament last season. Senior Bobbi Stewart is playing well after ankle surgery this past spring.

Wittenburg, who was sidelined midseason last year by a previous shoulder injury, was happy with her performance.

"Everything feels great for the first time in forever," Wittenburg said. "I wanna hit everything I can while I can."

The Cougar varsity team will play its official season-opening game at 7:30 p.m. Sept. 1 in Hofheinz Pavilion against Texas-Arlington. Student admission is free.

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