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Volume 71, Issue 10, Friday, September 2, 2005

Sports

A little longer wait for Cates

Junior blocker sidelined again; Bearkats added to tournament

By Ronnie Turner
The Daily Cougar

Over the course of the week, the UH volleyball team received both good and bad news that will affect this weekend's tournament.

The good news is, because of the destruction caused in New Orleans by Hurricane Katrina, Sam Houston State University has been added to the tournament play. The change will make a more competitive tournament.


Volleyball team members come together to plan how to battle against opponents, as well as how teammates can support the Cougars from the sidelines when they are injured.
Stephen Pinchback/The Daily Cougar

The bad news is that the Cougars found out that junior middle blocker Mary Cates will be out for at least three months after an exam revealed that she had a stress fracture on a vertebrae in her back. The team awaits the results of a similar test performed on junior outside hitter Kelly McAnelly, who also has experienced problems with her back. 

"Whenever a member of the team can't participate anymore, there's this void because suddenly it seems like there's somebody missing, like there's less of us," head coach Bill Walton said. "It affects the whole energy of the team, for sure."

Ole Miss, led by fourth-year head coach Joe Getzin, comes into the game with a group of eight returning players and six newcomers. Ole Miss started the 2005 season sweeping Louisiana-Monroe, while the Rebels had a combined .353 hitting percentage for the match.

"(Ole Miss) had a great week. Their team hit over .300, and they've done some good things," Walton said. "They're coming in here undefeated (1-0), so we're going have to be ready to play Friday night."

The Cougars themselves are coming off of a strong performance in last weekend's Houston Tournament, in which the team went 2-1 to capture the championship. Among several players, there were exceptional overall performances from seniors Kariny Ritter and Jaci Gonzalez. If McAnelly, who leads the team in kills with 46, is unable to play tonight, the Cougars might be hard pressed to find a competent replacement. 

"If McAnelly ends up hurt, we're going to have to revamp our lineups," Walton said. "That will not be a good thing because the team will feel a double loss (after) losing both players at the same time."

On Saturday, the Cougars will complete their participation in the tournament with matches against Arkansas State and Miami.

"We don't know anything about Arkansas and Miami because they haven't played yet, and Ole Miss played last weekend," Walton said. "We don't know what to expect altogether from any of those (teams). 

"Winning and losing isn't important to me so much as playing to a certain level. If we play to the level that I expect our team to play at, we should have three victories this weekend."

The Cougars will open the Houston Invitational against Mississippi at 8 p.m. today. The action will continue at 1 p.m. against Arkansas State and at 8 p.m. Saturday against Miami, followed by a non-tournament match at 7 p.m. Sunday against Sacramento.
 

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