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Recap: North Texas volleyball sets sights on tournament spot after win against Southern Miss

Recap: North Texas volleyball sets sights on tournament spot after win against Southern Miss

Recap: North Texas volleyball sets sights on tournament spot after win against Southern Miss
October 11
11:53 2021

After a sluggish start against the Southern Mississippi University Golden Eagles, North Texas stormed their way to a 3-1 win Saturday afternoon.

“I think we showed a lot of grit today,” senior middle blocker Sarah Haeussler said. “Being able to chip our way back showed a lot of toughness.”

The win featured key performances from the 1-2 punch of Haeussler and senior outside hitter Rhett Robinson, as well as sophomore outside hitter Truli Levy and team captain Kaliegh Skopal. Robinson tallied 15 kills in the match, but Haeussler was not to be outdone, leading the team with 16 kills. Skopal led North Texas in assists, recording 41 of them. Levy’s 9 kills also pushed forward the offense, but she also showed her ability to play in the clutch, recording a kill or block for the final point in two of the three set wins.

The first set was an error-filled set for the Mean Green, where they recorded 7 errors on 33 attacks en route to the 20-25 set loss.

North Texas turned the tide in the second set, winning 25-23 in a tightly contested battle. The set featured 5 lead changes and 9 ties, but the Mean Green edged out the Golden Eagles in the end.

“I think we came out with a little bit more intensity in that second set, which helped us out a lot,” Haeussler said.

In the third set, Southern Mississippi began to crumble on offense, hitting 0.1% with 7 errors on 30 attacks, which led to a 25-19 North Texas victory.

The Mean Green took advantage of an inefficient Golden Eagles team in the fourth set, going on an 8-0 run to help lead North Texas to a 25-19 win. Southern Mississippi’s hitting issues were even more prevalent in this set, committing 8 errors and hitting at a 0.088% rate.

The win pushed the Mean Green to 11-8 on the season and 4-2 in conference play. It also put them in third place in the C-USA West standings, sitting just behind Rice University and the University of Alabama-Birmingham. 

The top four teams in the division make the C-USA tournament, and the win gave them a bit of a cushion. University of Texas-El Paso now holds 4th place, with a 2-2 conference record. With the number of conference games left dwindling down to six matches, a strong finish should propel North Texas to a tournament appearance.

“We hope to continue to get momentum,” head coach Andrew Palileo said. “We’ve got four conference wins in a row and so we’re just trying to get better.”

North Texas’ next matchup will be a road game against the University of Alabama-Birmingham Blazers on Friday.

“Last year they swept us,” Palileo said. “We definitely have a little bit of payback to do.”

Image source Mean Green Sports

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Tyler Luker

Tyler Luker

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