North Texas Daily

Recap: Volleyball falls in conference opener against Rice

Recap: Volleyball falls in conference opener against Rice

Recap: Volleyball falls in conference opener against Rice
September 26
11:48 2021

North Texas volleyball struggled to keep up with the Rice University Owls in the Conference USA opener, losing in straight sets Friday night.

“We did a good job of shutting some of their starting players down in the beginning, but we weren’t able to sustain,” senior outside hitter Rhett Robinson said. “We need to take advantage of opportunities that we have and have more of a sense of urgency with each point.”

Despite the loss, there were some highlights from the Mean Green’s perspective. Freshman setter Katie Butler and sophomore outside hitter Truli Levy both made their first starts and smothered the stat sheet. Butler led the team in assists with 19 and has the third-most kills with 6. Levy accumulated 7 kills and 4 blocks in the contest. Robinson also performed at a high level, notching 14 kills and 2 aces.

Head coach Andrew Palileo noted that the team struggled with deception on offense. North Texas went to Robinson a lot on offense, with her making up about 45 percent of the Mean Green’s total attacks.

“It gets to the point where if we don’t pass well on our first touch we get pretty predictable,” Palileo said. 

Although North Texas did suffer a sweep, the sets were tightly contested, especially in the first and third sets. 

The first set went into extras, with North Texas falling short in a comeback and dropping the set 27-25. The Mean Green hit the ball better than the Owls did, holding a .297 hitting percentage compared to Rice’s .244 in the first set. The Owls had more errors but also tallied more kills and attacks.

The second set was dominated by Rice, with their lead reaching a peak of 12 points. The Mean Green had nine more attacks than the Owls but hit at a .146 rate with only 11 kills.

North Texas’s hitting woes did not improve in the third and final set, with their hitting percentage falling to .04 with 5 errors on just 6 kills.

The Mean Green are set for a rematch with the Owls Sunday afternoon.

“I think we gotta play a little smarter, a little bit more measured in the way we do things,” Palileo said. “In those moments when the match gets tight and close, we gotta rely on everyone doing their jobs and I think we didn’t do it as well as we should have.”

Image source Mean Green Sports

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Tyler Luker

Tyler Luker

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