HOUSTON (SMU) – Abbey Bybel had a match-high 12 kills, and Caroline Young recorded 11, to lead the Mustangs to a 3-0 win at Houston (25-17, 25-17, 25-18) in the final match of the regular season. The win was SMU’s 22nd of the season, the third-highest win total in program history, to finish with a 22-9 record. The Mustangs went 14-4 in their inaugural season in the American Athletic Conference, claiming sole possession of second place in the league.
Bybel hit .450, committing just three errors in the match, and SMU hit .365 as a team, while holding the Cougars (18-15, 10-8 The American) to a .053 attack percentage, recording the 14th sweep of the season for the Mustangs. SMU had 45 kills, and Houston was limited to 27. Defensively, the Mustangs had 40 digs, led by Morgan Heise’s 10, and eight blocks.
SMU closed out the match with a 6-2 run to win the third set 25-18. The Mustangs took a 7-4 lead to start the set, and stretched it to five, 18-13. Houston took a timeout, and scored two of the next three points before SMU rallied for the final points of the match. Young had five kills in the third set to finish in double figures.
The first set was the only one in which the Mustangs trailed. Houston scored the first point, and after three lead changes, the Cougars scored three straight for a 6-4 lead. Still down two, the Mustangs went on a 6-1 run for an 11-8 lead. With the advantage still three, 19-16, SMU scored six of the last seven for a 25-17 win in the first set. The Mustangs held the Cougars to just seven kills and a match-low .000 attack percentage, while
scoring 17. Bybel had half of her 12 kills in the first set, and hit .714.
Houston matched SMU with 11 kills in the second set, but the Cougars committed 15 total errors, while the Mustangs committed just five to take a 2-0 advantage with a second straight 25-17 win. SMU scored the first three points, and while the Cougars answered with two points, Houston never tied the score. The Mustangs had a string of four straight points to take a 21-12 lead, the largest advantage of the match, and ended the set on the second attempt at set point.
The Mustangs ended the regular season on a five-match win streak, and won 10 of the last 11 matches. Avery Acker had 38 assists and six digs in the win, and senior Maddie Lozano recorded seven kills and four blocks. Freshman Janelle Giordano also had four blocks and six kills in the win.