North Texas Daily

Recap: Volleyball surpasses milestones in win over in-state rival UTEP

Recap: Volleyball surpasses milestones in win over in-state rival UTEP

Recap: Volleyball surpasses milestones in win over in-state rival UTEP
February 28
21:08 2021

The volleyball team won a nail-biting game 3-2 over the University of Texas at El Paso Miners Sunday. Four of the five sets were decided by four points or less.

“I thought it was a good game, there was two offenses that were pretty good,” Head coach Andrew Palileo said. “Their hitting percentage was a little bit better than ours. It was right side [outside hitter] verses right side today.”

Junior right outside hitter Rhett Robinson recorded a season-high 25 kills and five errors on 59 attempts. Robinson tacked on nine digs and five blocks, in addition to scoring half of the team’s 51 total kills.

“I think we started off good and from then we stayed positive, stayed on them,” Robinson said. “[We] made sure that they didn’t think they had too big of a chance and kept the pressure on them and try to keep it off of ourselves.”

One of the key moments for North Texas came in the final set when senior outside hitter Barbara Martin served up two aces in a row, putting North Texas in a position to put the game away.

“Oh my goodness that was a game-changer,” Senior middle blocker Miranda Youmans said. “I think it turned the game around for us and brought us back to life a little bit. It got us hype, it got us a lot of energy, and it turned the whole game back around.”

The Mean Green (5-6, Conference USA 2-3) also saw more two players hit milestones against the Miners. Junior middle blocker Sarah Haeussler reached 200 blocks for her career on a set-clinching block in the first set and libero Aleeyah Galdeira became the fourth-fastest North Texas player to reach 500 digs in her career.

“I think she’s stepping in there and still learning the position [to] where she can be consistent,” Palileo said. “She did a good job today from the standpoint of hanging in there. It wasn’t one of her best games, but she hung in there and made a couple of key digs in moments that we needed it.”

North Texas allowed the Miners to rack up 77 kills and eight aces. UTEP also committed 41 errors compared to the Mean Green’s 20.

“We’ve got to play defense better for longer periods of time,” Palileo said. “We’re going to have to have more players involved in the match because Miranda and Rhett had most of the kills. We’ve got to come up with people that will score as well.”

The win comes on the heels of a 3-0 loss in Waco at the hands of the No. 6 Baylor University Bears Friday, Feb. 26. The Bears held North Texas to a negative hitting percentage and beat the Mean Green in every category except for blocks.

“When you play a team like Baylor, of course, you still have the competitive mindset that you have in any other game,” Robinson said. “But you can’t be as hard on yourself because you respect the other player. After playing Baylor we saw a lot we’d never seen before, so I think coming in here we were a little shook, but I’m excited for tomorrow to see how we bounce back and respond.”

Up Next: North Texas will play UTEP again at 1 p.m. on Monday.

Featured Image: Freshmen outside hitter Kenzie Smith celebrates after completing a kill against UTEP on Feb. 28, 2021. Image by Zachary Thomas

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James Carroll

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