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Tulsa Tames Houston Cougars 3-0 in C-USA Regular Season Finale

The Tulsa seniors with Head Coach Steven McRoberts
The Tulsa seniors with Head Coach Steven McRoberts
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Nov. 11, 2012

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TULSA, Okla. - The Tulsa volleyball team celebrated Senior Day with a 3-0 (25-18, 25-17, 25-20) victory over Houston on Sunday at the Donald W. Reynolds Center.

The Golden Hurricane (21-9, 14-2 Conference USA) hit .284 (47-16-109) while holding Houston (8-18, 7-9 C-USA) to a .145 clip (34-18-110). The Golden Hurricane collected 50 digs, 45 assists and five blocks, while the Cougars recorded 42 digs, 33 assists and nine blocks.

Before the match, seniors Jessica Adams, Jordan Clampitt, Tyler Henderson, Shelbi Pitcher, Diana Silva and student-manager Annice Ridgway were honored. In the last four years, TU has posted a record of 106-26 and a .803 winning percentage - one of the best four-year stretches in school history. The senior class has won three C-USA titles, advanced to the second round at the NCAA Tournament twice and has a 65-7 record in conference matches.

"It's great for our seniors to go out with a win," commented Head Coach Steven McRoberts. "We are proud of their accomplishments over the past four years. We wanted them to end with a win. We wanted to be able to win our second in a row to have a little bit more momentum heading into the conference tournament."

Junior outside hitter Kellie Culbertson led the Golden Hurricane attack with 14 kills and hit .407. Culbertson also had 13 digs and a service ace.

Henderson tallied 13 kills and hit .385 in the match. Freshman outside hitter Paige Panfil added seven kills, while sophomore middle blocker Carly Boatwright and Silva had four kills apiece. Adams collected 13 digs, while Silva chipped in 12 digs.

In the first set, Tulsa stormed out to a 13-6 lead en route to a 25-18 victory. Panfil recorded four of her seven kills in the frame, and Culbertson snared eight digs.

Tulsa jumped out to a 9-5 lead in the second set, before Houston scored six of the next nine points to make it a 12-11 contest. Tulsa went on a 7-2 run en route to winning the set, 25-17. Culbertson hit .700 in the stanza and had seven of TU's 17 kills in the set as the Golden Hurricane hit .405 as a team.

Houston jumped out to a 10-7 in the third before Tulsa tied the set at 10 apiece. After a Nicole Newton kill tied the match at 15, Tulsa went on a 10-5 run to close out the set 25-20. Tulsa hit .314 in the frame while holding Houston to a .194 clip.

The Golden Hurricane earned the number one seed in next week's Conference USA Volleyball Championship. TU will play in the noon game on Friday, November 16, at the Reynolds Center against the eighth-seeded SMU.

"We can't get too comfortable saying that we won the conference title and not be ready for the tournament," McRoberts said. "This group has bigger things in mind than just a regular season championship. We want to get to the NCAA Tournament, and hopefully make a run there."

For all Tulsa volleyball news and information, visit www.TulsaHurricane.com. Follow Tulsa Athletics on Twitter at www.Twitter.com/TulsaHurricane and Facebook at www.facebook.com/TulsaHurricane. Follow Tulsa Volleyball on Twitter (www.twitter.com/TulsaVolleyball) and Facebook (www.facebook.com/TulsaVolleyball).