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Wednesday, October 21, 1998
Houston, Texas
Volume 64, Issue 42

UH/C-USA Notebook

About the Cougar

Upcoming weekend significant in conference race for soccer, volleyball


Andrew Ferraro
The Daily Cougar

If a pair of matches could be called a make-or-break weekend, this could be it for lady cougar soccer.

After running off nine straight victories in a row (including eight in-conference) Houston is facing the biggest weekend in the programs history. And all of the hassle and all of the work could be cheapened if the team doesnit perform this weekend.

On Friday, Chris Hustons team travels to Tampa, Fla., to take on conference USA-leading South Florida. The Bulls have not lost a single match this season , posting a record of 11-0-2(6-0-1 C-USA).

This match , in all probability, will decide who is the regular season conference champion. As surprising as the Cougars have been, the Bulls have been equally as astonishing.

No one would have expected that the Bulls would produce a 13-game unbeaten record, a streak which ties them for fourth in the nation in terms of longevity. The UH-USF game kicks off at 4 p.m. Friday.

The other important match for the cougars is Sunday in charlotte, N.C., against the UNC charlotte 49ers. UNCC is ranked third in the conference , and if the cougars do not beat USF, they must win Sunday to assure themselves of at least a No. 2 seeding in the C-USA Tournament.

Surprising Seniors for Soccer

Going into the season , Coach Huston had no seniors on her squad and was going to count on Michelle Denomm`e as the only veteran . As soon as practices began, Huston got a breath of fresh air when seniors Lisa Duffus and Fleceia Comeaux walked on to the team.

Neither of the two had played soccer above the high school ranks , but both brought collegiate- level experience in other sports. As stars of their respective former teams (Duffus in track, Comeaux in basketball), the two have shined as cougars for the past four years.

But both are getting an opportunity for a victory lap as fifth-year seniors, and both have responded.

Duffus and Comeaux are tied for second on the team in goals, tallying four apiece. And because the two have not played since the early 1990s, the feat is even more impressive.

Crunch Time for Cougar Netters

In preparation for this weeks matches, the Cougar volleyball must ponder its future.

A quick look at C-USA standings will reveal a UH team struggling to stay above .500. Five wins against four losses. Not exactly what head coach Bill Walton had in mind before the season started.

And a 5-4 conference start for Houston is certainly not the record that the rest of the coaches in C-USA had foreseen when they picked the Cougars to finish tops in the league.

With mid-season injuries to senior starters Debbie Vokes and Courtney Williams, the Cougars now have as many C_USA losses as the team did their first two years in the league combined. 

Vokes, an outside hitter from Australia, missed the first part of the season with a shoulder injury and has been sidelined since injuring her knee in the match at UAB (a 3-0 win October 9).

Williams, a native of San Antonio, leads the league in blocking but has not played since hurting her ankle late in the Louisville match Oct. 2, a 3-1 loss to the Cardinals.

Unfortunately, when the team is slumping, many of the positives get overlooked. Like when after a career-high 16 kills in five games at Memphis, junior middle Jillian King spiked 14 kills and hit for a .407 percentage in just three games to lead UH past league rival DePaul on Sunday.

King has shown steady improvement the past two weeks since being thrust into the starting role due to Williams' injury.

Whether or not the Cougars can rebound from these injuries resulting in sub-par play certainly rests on the backbone of the team itself.

Although shooting for a sweep this weekend could be asking a little too much, it is almost mandatory if the Cougars want a first round bye in the C_USA Championship tournament in late November.

No pressure.

Curl's Clinic for Coaches

Joe Curl, the new women's basketball coach at UH, will conduct a coaches' clinic Sunday at the Athletic/Alumni center.

Admission is free for all students who wish to participate, and coaches who attend will be charged $15.

All who attend will receive lunch, dinner and a clinic notebook covering all areas of the day in great detail. Forma are available through the Lady Cougar basketball office, or interested parties may register from 9:30 to 10 a.m. the day of the clinic. More than 150 coaches have already committed to attending this year's clinic.

The clinic will demonstrate the drills and teaching techniques used in learning such basketball fundamentals as the full-court game, match-up zone defense and rebounding.

In addition, Curl will discuss "The Motivation for the New Millennium."

For more information on the clinic, please contact the Lady Cougar basketball office at (713) 943-9461 or (800) 687-8484.

Reach Ferraro at

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