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Volume 68, Issue 4, Thursday, August 29, 2002

Sports
 
 

Coogs set for opening tourney

By Emily Davis
The Daily Cougar

The UH volleyball team is ready to dig in for the season.

Having spent the summer practicing and playing preseason matches, the Cougars will face off against four schools in the season-opening
Cardinal Classic tournament at Lamar in Beaumont beginning Friday. Host school Lamar, Centenary and Louisiana Tech will also compete.


Pin Lim/The Daily Cougar


Senior hitter Jane Anne Karasek, center, and the rest of the Cougar volleyball team begin the 2002 season Friday at the Cardinal Classic
tournament in Beaumont.

"We decided to play the Lamar tournament this year because we get an extra weekend in September to play," said volleyball head coach Bill
Walton.

Walton predicts the Lamar Cardinals will be the toughest opponent in the tournament. His team faces off against the Cardinals at 7 p.m.
Saturday.

"We like playing the Lamar Cardinals because they're close and (it is) a good chance to play a good team," Walton said. "They were the first
team we played when I started coaching at UH so our teams have a good relationship."

Walton said tournaments are extremely beneficial to his players because they provide as many matches as possible in the dates they are
allowed to play. Because volleyball is a game of repetition, Walton welcomes the lessons that are learned through playing in a tournament.

"The tournament will help us find out exactly what we're good at and where we are lacking," he said. "We like to be able to find out where we
stand before the really important matches begin."

But Walton said tournament play tends to wear his players down quickly.

"Each girl gets a lot of playing time and that can tire a person out," he said. "Each year the team sees more and more injuries and many times
the tournaments can contribute to this."

Because the team is currently plagued with injuries, only nine players will make the trip to Beaumont this weekend.

"Our new motto is 'Nine is Enough,'" Walton said. "There's not a player on the team that won't be instrumental this weekend.

Walton said he is looking for the relationship between hitter Jenny Tanneberger and setter Donna Sellen to be finely tuned at the tournament.
The duo worked into a smooth pattern last fall and Walton said he is confident the tournament will rid the pair of rust brought on by summer rest.

"I'm also excited to see how Laura Koster does," said Walton. "We have her at a brand-new outside hitter position, which she should do well in."

This weekend will be the first time the team incorporates a libero player into the lineup. Walton expects to start Jaci Gonzalez in this position and
utilize Ali Roberts as a backup.

"It will be interesting getting used to the new rules surrounding the libero player," Walton said. "I'm excited to see how it goes."

The past two weeks have proved productive in the volleyball team's practices. The players have adjusted to new positions and techniques set
forth by Walton.

"Our goal this past week has been to strive for teamwork," Walton said. "I've really seen a lot of improvement in that area."

The Cougars set off on their short journey to Cardinal country with only practice and a team scrimmage under their belts. 

"We are definitely ready for this weekend," Walton said. "The girls are sick of practice, there's only so much of that a player can take. We're ready
to face some real opponents."

 Send comments to dcsports@mail.uh.edu

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