HOUSTON – The #21 University of Houston Volleyball team clinched its first Big 12 Conference win in program history with a sweep of West Virginia behind double-digit kill performances from graduates Kenna Sauer and Abbie Jackson on Friday night in the Fertitta Center.
Houston (8-5, 1-3 Big 12) extended its home win streak to 18 matches dating back to its home opener last season. The mark is now tied for the third longest streak in the country alongside Yale, sitting only behind Stephen F. Austin, who has won 23 straight home matches, and Colgate, who leads the country with 32 consecutive home wins.
The Cougars, who hit .385 in the match behind 48 kills and only eight errors, improve to 21-0 under Head Coach David Rehr when hitting above .300 in a match. With West Virginia (7-10, 0-4 Big 12) hitting .182, Houston also moved to 8-0 this season when holding its opponent to a sub-.200 efficiency.
Jackson used 12 kills to lead the Cougars, hitting .455 while narrowly missing out on a double-double with nine digs. Senior Kate Georgiades tallied a match-best 19 digs, while Sauer also neared her own double-double with 10 kills and eight digs. Senior Annie Cooke led Houston with 24 assists, bringing her career total to 2,880 and moving her up to sixth on Houston’s career assists list.
Houston wasted no time in jumping out to a 7-1 lead, forcing an early timeout from West Virginia. The early deficit was too much for the Mountaineers to overcome, as West Virginia never tied or led in the frame. The Mountaineers would only ever get as close as four points for the remainder of the set while the Cougars led by 11 at multiple instances, eventually taking the set, 25-14.
Six different Cougars recorded a kill in the first frame while Georgiades’ seven digs led both teams in the opening set.
Houston again controlled play early. While West Virginia tied the score at 3-3 after six points, Houston used a 5-0 run to take the lead for good, pushing its advantage to eight points at 15-7 and cruising to a 25-16 win in the set.
Jackson led the Cougars with a 3-0-7 mark and a .429 efficiency in the second frame.
While the Cougars dominated in the first two sets, West Virginia fought back in the final frame with nine ties and five lead changes in the third after one tie and zero lead changes combined in the first two sets. Although the score would be tied nine times, the last tie came at 9-9 with the Cougars using a 5-1 run to take a 14-10 lead. The teams would trade points and short runs for the remainder of the set, with Houston emerging victorious in the set, 25-20, and the match, 3-0.
Houston continues a four-match homestand with the series finale against West Virginia at 3 p.m. Saturday. The match will be streamed on Big 12 Now on ESPN+.
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– UHCougars.com –