Tulsa volleyball looking to bounce back after a rough week

Sports writer Joe McCurdy covers Tulsa’s three previous matchups against AAC’s top competitors.

It was a tough week for the Tulsa Women’s Volleyball Team as they went 0-3, failing to secure a victory in any of their matches. After winning their first two home matches, it was going to be an uphill battle for the Golden Hurricane, facing two top 5 finishers in the American Athletic Conference the previous season, facing University of Central Florida and Southern Methodist University along with Memphis.

Tulsa would first face off against UCF, traveling to a neutral site in Wichita, Kansas due to the danger of Hurricane Ian. UCF was the previous No.1 overall team in the AAC, finishing with a 27-7 record and winning the AAC Championship. Earning an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament, UCF lost in the second round to University of Calfornia-Los Angeles in a five-set match. The narrative hasn’t changed for UCF though as they continue to dominate with a 13-1 record, their singular loss coming at the hands of the Houston Cougars.

Tulsa was David and UCF was Goliath and Goliath came out on top in this matchup as UCF won in a controlling 3-0 fashion (25-17, 25-16, 25-9). Kayley Cassidy finished the match leading the Tulsa team in kills with 13 in total and recorded her 1000th kill as a Golden Hurricane.

Next up was a two-game home standoff facing conference rivals SMU and Memphis. Looking to defend home court and bounce back from their loss to UCF they would first have to face SMU, who finished top five in the conference last year with a record of 14-6. It was a highly competitive match, to say the least, with the two teams trading sets. Tulsa took SMU to five sets, winning the first and fourth set, but the size and power of SMU eventually got the better of the Golden Hurricane as they were unable to pull out the fifth set, losing 15-12. Kayley Cassidy once again led the team in kills, finishing the game with 20.

Memphis was the last opponent of the weekend and was a must-win for the Golden Hurricane. Memphis finished near the bottom of the AAC standings the previous year, completing the season with a 6-14 record. Memphis seemed to have turned a new leaf this year as they came into the match with a 12-6 record, doubling their wins from the previous year. Memphis came out to a hot start winning the first two sets 25-21 and 24-18. Tulsa looked flat compared to their last outing against SMU, and they couldn’t seem to find any momentum. They were able to pull out the third set (25-21) to avoid the sweep, but that’s all they were able to find, losing the fourth and final set 25-21. Cassidy (25) and Lauren Eitler (15) led the team in kills, but it wasn’t enough, as Tulsa fell to 9-8 on the season and 2-3 in conference play. The Golden Hurricane will look to find some sort of momentum as they prepare for a four-game road trip.

Post Author: Joe McCurdy