Senior outside hitter Tyler Henderson tallied 31 kills to propel the Tulsa volleyball team to a 3-2 victory (21-25, 25-18, 25-19, 23-25, 15-13) over Houston on Friday, September 28, at the Athletics and Alumni Center.
The Golden Hurricane (11-7, 4-0 Conference USA) held an attack percentage of .216, while the Cougars (2-12, 1-3 C-USA) earned an attack clip of .236.
"We escaped with a hard-fought road victory tonight," commented Head Coach Steven McRoberts. "It was a roller coaster of a match for us. Houston did a great job defending us. I'm proud of the way we fought and it's good to get a close victory away from home."
Henderson set a season high with her 31 kills, and hit .286 during the match. Junior outside hitter Kellie Culbertson added 13 kills and 15 digs to earn her 11th double-double of the season.
"Tyler was big down the stretch, and Kellie played one of her most solid matches. Those two stepped up for us tonight," McRoberts stated.
Sophomore middle blocker Carly Boatwright collected 12 kills, seven digs, three aces, and hit .556. Senior setter Jordan Clampitt led the squad with 35 assists and pitched in 10 digs. Senior libero Jessica Adams paced the team with 22 digs.
After being down 24-19 in the first set, TU made it a three-point contest after back-to-back service aces by Boatwright. Ultimately, the Cougars came away with the first set by a 25-21 margin as they led almost the entire frame.
Tulsa stormed out of the gates in the second stanza jumping out to a 3-0 lead thanks to two Henderson kills and a Culbertson service ace. The Hurricane won the set 25-18 as TU hit .263 while holding Houston to a .118 clip.
The third set went back and forth as there were 12 ties and seven lead changes. Culbertson recorded four kills and freshman middle blocker Ashley Hooper hit 1.000 with three kills as the Hurricane claimed victory in the third by a 25-19 score.
Despite 10 kills from Henderson in the fourth frame, Houston won the hard-fought set 25-23. After being down 24-21, TU made it a 24-23 set after sophomore Bailey Clampitt's service ace but could not finish the comeback.
In the fifth set, Houston took a 7-4 lead. Tulsa took six of the next nine points to knot things up at 10 apiece. Once TU tied the match, Henderson took over recording four kills to lead the Hurricane to a 15-13 victory. Henderson tallied eight kills in the final stanza.
"Our back row play helped us a lot during crunch time tonight, but we need to defend better at the net," McRoberts said. "We will need to play better against a tough Rice squad on Sunday."
Tulsa will face Rice (11-7, 4-0) in a battle of unbeaten teams in Conference USA on Sunday, September 30. First serve from Tudor Fieldhouse on the campus of Rice University is set for 1 p.m.