Tulsa volleyball defends home court in conference opener

Sports writer Joe McCurdy covers TU volleyball’s first two conference wins against East Carolina and Temple.

The Tulsa women’s volleyball team had their first two home games this weekend versus two in-conference opponents, East Carolina University and Temple. After finishing their non-conference schedule 7-5 with wins against teams like Oral Roberts University, Stephen F. Austin State University and University of Texas at El Paso, it was time to start their run for the American Conference Title. Their first season test came against ECU and Temple, who were 9th and 10th in the American Athletic Conference last year. This was Tulsa’s opportunity to start the season 2-0 in the conference where they finished middle of the pack last year before going on the road against the reigning AAC Champs UCF, who is currently undefeated and ranked No. 24 in the country.

First up on the docket was ECU, who currently sits at 5-9 overall and 0-2 in conference play, at the bottom of the AAC standings. Coming into the game on a two-game winning streak, the Golden Hurricane was coming into the game ready to play and had the confidence to back it up. That confidence was evident in the first two sets as the Golden Hurricane was rolling. Winning the first two sets 25-18 and 25-21. With a 3-0 sweep on the horizon, it looked like it was going to be a shoo-in for Tulsa, but after going on a 5-0 run to start the 3rd set, ECU started to fight back. Winning the next two sets 25-21 and 25-15, it looked like ECU was set to reverse sweep the Golden Hurricane. ECU had all the hope, the momentum and the vision for them to close out the comeback. Tulsa needed a huge momentum shift to swing the energy back in their favor and that’s exactly what happened. A huge 8-0 run coming off a serving run by setter Avery Kalsu took back any hope that ECU had built, and evaporated in a matter of minutes. With a 15-6 5th set victory, Tulsa escaped the comeback attempt and got their first home win of the season.

Next up was Temple, who currently sits at 6-7 overall and 0-2 in conference play, sitting at 8th overall in the AAC standings. While Temple’s record is nothing to write home about, they’ve kept themselves in close games against tough opponents. Looking to fix the mistakes made in the first match, Tulsa couldn’t take Temple for granted as they’ve been season wreckers in the past. It’s safe to say that the Golden Hurricane didn’t give Temple any hope during their match. After winning the first two sets with a dominant score of 25-17 and 25-14, Tulsa looked to close out the match in the third, avoiding the mistakes made in the ECU match. Winning the 3rd set 25-13 is exactly the conclusion Tulsa was looking for to end the weekend with a 2-0 conference record. Kayley Cassidy finished the match with 17 kills on 33 attacks, earning her 3rd AAC Honor Roll of the season.

As Tulsa stands as one of three AAC teams who are currently 2-0 in conference play, they look to continue working towards their goal of being a prominent force in the American Athletic Conference.

Post Author: Joe McCurdy