The University of Cincinnati (UC) women’s volleyball team took on the University of Houston Cougars Friday night at Fifth Third Arena, donning their pink uniforms to respect Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

Heading into the game, the Bearcats were the only team in the American Athletic Conference (AAC) without a home loss. The streak ended Friday as the Cougars took the road match 3-1. Houston improved to 17-4 on the season (7-2 AAC) and Cincinnati dropped to 11-6 (6-3 AAC). 

The first set continued to go back and forth, but the Cougars pulled away late to take the first set 25-20. Houston held the lead most of the set, but never a comfortable enough margin until the end. 

The Bearcats responded in the second set, taking it 25-17 to tie the evening. A big reason for the set victory was because of senior Maria Mallon and freshman Abby Walker, who both had 16 kills, the team-high for the match. Walker also led the team in points with 20.5. 

The Cougars took the third set 25-20. The Bearcats battled the entire way, with four lead changes and seven ties in the third set alone. Cincinnati freshman Emme Madden came to play as she had 46 assists and set a new career-high in blocks with three. 

The fourth and final set was dominated by Houston as they took it 25-18. The Bearcats finished the match with 56 kills, 80 digs, eight blocks, and five service aces. This was the first time Houston has beaten Cincinnati since 2013.

Houston did look like the better team Friday, as Cincinnati had double the number of errors with 26 compared to the Cougars 13. A big reason Houston left Cincinnati victorious was that they had more than double the number of blocks as the Bearcats with twelve. Houston also finished with eight service aces, three more than the Bearcats.

The player of the game for the Bearcats was Maria Mallon, who not only had 16 kills, but 16 digs, making it her third straight double-double. Mallon is now only 40 digs away from reaching 1,000. 

Madison Waters, a UC junior, also played well as she set a new season-high for digs. Walker finished with 11 on the night and had seven kills. Kailea Carrier, a redshirt junior, also had herself a performance as she had 11 kills on 19 attempts. 

The all-time series between these future Big 12 schools is now 14-9 with UC leading. The Bearcats loss Friday ends their eight straight victories over the Cougars. Before the match, the last time Cincinnati lost to Houston was back in 2014.

The Bearcats will conclude their two-game homestand against Tulane on Oct. 24 at 1 p.m., available to stream on ESPN+.