North Texas Daily

Mean Green outlast Roadrunners in Conference USA play

Mean Green outlast Roadrunners in Conference USA play

September 29
23:34 2017

Coming off a solid win Wednesday night against Power 5 Oklahoma, the Mean Green stood firm in conference play putting away the University of Texas – San Antonio (3-11, 1-1) in four sets Friday night at home.

The North Texas volleyball team (15-2, 2-1) traded blows all night against UTSA. It was another big night for the Mean Green, this time for junior setter Alex Janak specifically, as she went produced a career-high 4 aces.

“To me, it means that I’m helping my team more,” Janak said. “Just contributing that to the team – it’s my job. It was a tough game, so I couldn’t let anything slide.”

The Mean Green took advantage early on with the emergence of senior right side hitter Alexis Wright and sophomore middle blocker Emma Eakin, who had 5 kills each to lead the offensive firepower in a 25-19 first set win.

However, inconsistencies on defense and self-inflicted errors plagued North Texas in the second set. Despite being up 18-16 going into the final timeout, the Roadrunners came out of the timeout on a 4-0 run to give themselves an advantage that led to a 25-22 set win.

A late comeback was not enough to propel the Mean Green, but showed promise going into the third set behind strong performances from Eakin and senior middle blocker Amanda Chamberlain.

“I think we realized we needed to come out with more energy and start out stronger so we didn’t have to play catch-up,” Eakin described as the mindset they had going into the third set.

In the third set, North Texas and UTSA scored, and scored, and scored, surpassing the traditional 25-point finish as the Mean Green eventually grabbed the lead with a 28-26 win. The momentum from that nail-biter carried into the fourth set as North Texas was able to walk away with a big conference win. 

“We clearly didn’t play our best tonight, but we played the best that we could, so it means a lot to struggle and still pull out a win,” Wright said. “We can come together and fill different roles. If you’re not scoring like you usually do, finding another way to contribute to the team and pull out the win together means everything.”

With back-to-back big wins, the Mean Green feel as though they are finding their stride again after losing the conference opener to Southern Miss. 

“I think we’re finally realizing we are good and teams are going to gameplan against us,” Wright added. “We have to get out of our comfort zone and push each other in practice, because we know we’re a team to beat now.”

Next Up: North Texas faces off against Louisiana Tech University at 1 p.m. Sunday in Denton.

Featured Image: Sophomore Emma Eakin (9) and Senior Holly Milam (10) block the ball in the second set against UTSA. Madison Gore

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Thomas Escobar

Thomas Escobar

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