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Volume 68, Issue 45, Monday, October 28, 2002


Injured Cougars put out the Blazers

By Bridget Brown and Emily Davis
The Daily Cougar

It was a mixed bag for the UH volleyball team this weekend, as the Cougars went into two important matches against Conference USA rivals, getting swept by South Florida on Friday but coming back to rout Alabama-Birmingham on Saturday.

In spite of being plagued with four injuries of key players this season, the Cougars dealt a devastating blow to UAB in the Hofheinz Pavilion Saturday night. UH pulled together to sweep the Blazers 3-0 (30-28, 30-14, 30-26), upping its record to 14-7 overall and 4-2 in Conference USA. The match concluded a five-game home-stand, the longest in seven years for UH.

The latest team casualty was senior Jane Anne Karasek. The 6-2 outside hitter fractured her arm against Southern Methodist on Wednesday, but said she expects to be well enough to play in the C-USA Tournament in November.

Senior middle hitter Jenny Tanneberger reaches for the ball during the Cougar volleyball teamis 3-0 win over Alabama-Birmingham on Saturday at Hofheinz Pavilion. The straight-set win improved UHis record to 14-7 overall (4-2 in Conference USA).
Allen Cernosek/The Daily Cougar

"Once we get everyone healthy we will be great. Everyone is stepping up to do as much as they can," said senior middle hitter Jenny Tanneberger, who led UH with 25 kills.

The team now has seven available players, and along with the addition of newcomer Shabakka Ingram to the line-up, the Cougars look to recover at least two injured players by tournament time. Although the Cougars are undefeated against the Blazers during the past six years, head coach Bill Walton said he felt nervous about the game. UAB had won its last three matches, including a win over Saint Louis, a team the Cougars fell to on Oct. 12.

"We played a little sloppy because we had more games than practice time last week, and weive had a lot of injuries," Walton said. "(I hope), we will be able to concentrate more, and get it going for the next game."

Senior setter Donna Sellen recorded 45 assists and 10 digs while freshman libero Jaci Gonzalez added 10 digs. Sophomore middle backer/outside hitter Laura Koster posted 17 kills and the team game high of 11 digs. Koster is still undergoing rehabilitation for a painful sprain that allows only light practice during the week.

"We were pretty wishy-washy with communication tonight," Koster said. "I think we are going to do awesome in conference when we get our players back."

As good as it was for UH to get a conference win, Friday proved to be anything but fun for the hobbled Cougars. A three-set loss (30-19, 30-26, 30-20) to the South Florida Bulls put UH in danger to falling to .500 in conference action.

UH came out strong in the first game against the Bulls with a service ace by sophomore setter Mirela Vasconcellos. The Cougars took a commanding lead, but allowed a five-point run by USF and never recovered.

"I really concentrated on working the back row and assisting my teammates," Vasconcellos said. "The loss was a disappointment, but I feel like I had a good game and was pleased with my serving."

Tanneberger brought the crowd to its feet with a clean block to finish off a seven-point UH run in the third game. Tanneberger nailed 13 kills against South Florida, added a service ace in the first game and was second on the team with nine digs.

Sophomore middle hitter Riauna Knox and Sellen made up the teamis strong block at the net. The pair combined for five blocks and Sellen added 27 set assists for the Cougars. Koster recorded 15 kills on the night. 

The Cougars will pack their bags for a two-game road trip to face conference foes DePaul on Friday and Marquette on Saturday before returning home for a three-game conference stretch.

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