The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

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The program for SMU Lyric Theatres performance of Suor Angelica and Gianni Schicchi, Dallas Texas, Sunday February 18, 2024
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Mustangs take new winning streak on the road against in-state rivals

The SMU volleyball team regained their offensive form last weekend, just in time to defeat Conference USA rivals East Carolina University and Marshall University. Now, they’re taking to the road to play C-USA and interstate rivals, University of Houston and Rice University.

Houston, (6-13, 3-1 conference) despite their poor overall record, is a strong dark horse that is actually ranked above SMU in the standings because of their higher conference record. The Cougars are currently on a three-game winning streak, with all three wins occurring against C-USA opponents.

“If you look at Houston’s overall record, it’s not that impressive,” said Lisa Seifert, head coach of the Mustangs. “But if you look at who they have played, that is impressive. They’ve played a real tough schedule. In some key positions, they’re really young, so I’m not surprised by their record. But, they’re very well coached and they’re very disciplined. I’m certainly not overlooking Houston. They’re a team that can put an offense together and can hurt you.”

Houston’s offense will be led by outside hitter Kinsey Cave, who ranks sixth in the conference in kills. Defensively, the Cougars have defensive specialist Amanda Carson, who ranks ninth in the conference in digs.

SMU faces a much tougher test in their next game when they take on Rice University (11-4, 3-1 conference) on Saturday. Rice lost their first conference game against Tulane last weekend, but before that, the Owls had torn through conference play, dropping only a single set against Memphis University, University of Alabama-Birmingham and University of Texas at El Paso.

Rice is the C-USA leader in several statistical categories, including kills and assists. The Owls are also second in the league in hitting percentage and second in opponent hitting percentage. The Owls are led offensively by outside hitter Ashleigh McCord and middle blocker Natalie Bogan, who are ranked fifth and ninth in kills, respectively. Setter Meredith Schamun is first in C-USA in assists, and defensive specialist Tracey Lam is first in the conference in digs and third in service aces.

SMU, though, is not without some of the top conference players as well. Sophomore Dana Powell is third in the conference in kills, averaging 3.94 kills/set. Sophomore Kelli Becerra is fifth in sets, with 10.12 sets/set, and senior Carly Bergquist is second in service aces. Defensively, the Mustangs have senior Kendra Kahanek, who ranks second in the league in blocks with 1.07 blocks/set and sophomore Sidney Stewart, who is averaging 4.47 digs/set, which is good for fourth in the league.

“In transition, we are, theoretically, by statistics, the best defensive team in the league,” Seifert said. “Because, we are either first or second in digs and we’re one through three in blocks. No other team has those two categories put together. But, what we have to do with that level of defense is to be able to attack out of it and score out of it.”

The Mustangs will take on the Cougars Oct. 9 at 7 p.m. and will play the Owls on Oct. 10 at 7 p.m.

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