MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – The West Virginia University volleyball team (7-11) were swept in three sets on Saturday afternoon by Houston, 25-11, 25-20 and 25-16 at the Fertitta Center in Houston, Texas.
Sophomore outside hitter Bailey Miller and junior outside hitter Hailey Green led the team in kills, collecting nine each. Freshman middle blocker Maddy McGath had an impressive offensive output, putting down six kills on eight swings, hitting .625. Redshirt senior setter Lauren DeLo added a double-double, with 19 assists and 10 digs.
Defensively, freshman middle blocker Emma Beretich collected a career-high five blocks, with West Virginia combining for seven total blocks and 31 digs.
The Mountaineers collected the first point of the match, with a hammer from Green. Beretich and Green went on to combine for a block, giving West Virginia the early 2-0 advantage. The Cougars responded with a 6-0 run, setting the tone for the remainder of the set. McGath chipped into Houston’s 15-8 lead with a kill at the halfway point, answered by four straight points from the Cougars. A kill from Green helped bridge the 10-point gap made by Houston, before the Red and White captured the first set, 25-11.
West Virginia looked for redemption in the second, coming back from being down 5-0, with eight unanswered points. The Gold and Blue had the upper hand on Houston until the 18-17 mark when the Cougars went on a 4-1 run. A kill from Green put West Virginia only one point below Houston, 21-20. Houston proceeded with four consecutive kills, for a 25-20 set two victory.
Houston capitalized in the third, storming out to a 12-3 lead. West Virginia battled for every point, with mixed-in kills from McGath and sophomore middle blocker Tierney Jackson. The Cougars gave West Virginia three straight points off errors, making for a 17-11 Houston lead. The Mountaineers attempted to slow the Cougars momentum with a Miller kill, before dropping the third, 25-16.
West Virginia stays on the road and will face off against Big 12 newcomer UCF on Wednesday, Oct. 11. Wednesday’s match is set to take place at The Venue at UCF in Orlando, Florida with a 7 p.m. ET, first serve. This will make for the first meeting between the Mountaineers and Knights since 1988, with West Virginia leading the all-time program series, 1-0.