Top 20 Team
Quiet and unassuming, our team carved out
a niche for itself in the Southwest Conference
and the national volleyball scene. Twice, during the weeks of September 20 and October 18,
the Lady Coogs were ranked in the NCAA Top
20 poll. They finished up the season just barely
out of an NCAA post-season tournament bid
and fourth in the NCAA South Region.
The team ended the season 20-11, keeping a
small, but vociferous group of fans happy with
its tenacity and comeback abilities. For the
first time, UH won its own tournament, "The
Whataburger Classic" in a heartstopping
game with Georgia. Lashelle Dobson won the
MVP Award for her performance there.
Whataburger also sponsored a serving contest between games, where people served for
prizes and learned that serving was not as easy
as the Lady Cougars made it look.
Northwestern, Notre Dame, Texas A&M, and
Florida State were all early-season victims as
the win-loss record climbed to 13-3. Then the
season took a slight dip, as five games in a row
were dropped, including four in the Southwest
Conference — the Rice game marking the season low point.
The team bounced back and crushed Baylor
in three straight games, then promptly lost the
first two games in an away match with Texas
A&M. The next two hour forty-five minute
match was a record buster, as Junior Julie
Gates and team captain Lori Bolk recorded 29
and 33 digs, respectively.
Buoyed by their success, they tip-toed by
LSU, steamrolled Rice at home, and came back
from 2-1 deficit to beat Texas Tech. Losing to
Kentucky effectively knocked the team out of
The team broke into the national rankings
for the first time since 1980. Julie Gates was
named SWC player of the week, and also made
all-tournament teams in nearly every tournament in which she played. She was also named
to the first team All-Southwest Conference.
Graduating seniors Lashelle Dobson and Lori
Bolk were named to second team All-SWC.
In the past three years, the players have
climbed one rank per year in the difficult SWC.
Missing bids to the NCAA tournament by a
series of close games two years in a row has
made the team wiser and hungry for postseason play. ► Michael Danke
Outside hitter Lori Bolk hits the floor in order to keep
the ball alive. Photo by Hugh Tom.
The University of Houston Volleyball team. Front row: Karen Bell, Birgitt Haderlein, Leslie Sadleir; Middle row:
Dan Riley (Adm. asst.), Lori Bolk, Ginger Wittkofski, Lashelle Dobson, Janelle Harmonson, Eva Chavez (Grad.
asst.); Back row: Bill Walton (Head Coach), Tina Thompson, Tina Johnson, Latisha Charles, Norah Simpson, Julie
Gates, Yong Guo (Grad. asst.)
232 ■ Sports
Head coach Bill Walton studies the game closely as outside hitter
Norah Simpson takes a drink. Photo by Hugh Tom.
The players Janelle Harmonson, Lori Bolk and Lashelle Dobson
discuss their strategy. Photo by Hugh Tom.