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North Texas volleyball slips up in first Conference USA game

North Texas volleyball slips up in first Conference USA game

September 24
00:22 2016

North Texas volleyball lost 3-1 to the University of Southern Mississippi in its first Conference USA game on Friday night.

The Mean Green (6-10) let technical errors, such as digging, get the best of them against the Golden Eagles (11-4). Although there were high-energy plays in the fourth set, the women’s blunders at the beginning ultimately did them in.

“We had some good moments today and some players stood up,” head coach Andrew Palileo said. “But they out dug us by 15. We need to do a better job at that and try to have more people defend and dig up balls.”

Freshman middle blocker Emma Eakin was one who stepped up during the first half of the game, leading the team in kills and total attacks until the third set. But it was not enough to secure a first set win, and North Texas fell 25-22.

Despite the shaky start, North Texas was able to get back to level pegging in the second set. The team stole the lead away from the Golden Eagles towards the middle of the set, ensuring the first Mean Green set win of conference play with a 25-19 score.

“We had some good things come together and it was exciting to see some people blossom at the right time,” junior right side hitter Alexis Wright said. “Emma had a really good game. We’ve been working on a couple things going into today and some things are showing up when they need to and some just aren’t.”

When the women came back for the third set, however, so did their flaws. The Mean Green racked up a total of eight errors in this set alone, en route to a 25-15 loss.

“We can definitely improve on the defense in the game,” junior middle blocker Amanda Chamberlain said. “Blocking, digging, passing … I think everything can always be worked on.”

Despite trailing, Chamberlain and the rest of the team came ready to battle in the fourth set. After powerful kills by Chamberlain, freshman outside hitter BrynCaitlin Walker and junior middle blocker Holly Milam, the scoreboard pointed in the Mean Green’s favor at 24-23.

With freshman libero LekaLeka Kiner-Falefa up to serve, she put it straight into the net, giving Southern Mississippi a chance to walk off with the win, and they capitalized, winning 26-24.

Up next: North Texas will take on Florida International University at 1 p.m. on Sunday in Denton.

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Courtney Anderson

Courtney Anderson

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