North Texas Daily

Recap: Volleyball sweeps Texas Tech, is now 2-1 against Big 12 opponents this season

Recap: Volleyball sweeps Texas Tech, is now 2-1 against Big 12 opponents this season

Recap: Volleyball sweeps Texas Tech, is now 2-1 against Big 12 opponents this season
March 18
09:45 2021

North Texas volleyball swept Texas Tech University by a score of 3-0 on Wednesday to bring the Mean Green’s home record against the Big 12 conference to 2-0.

“I knew that the way we were hitting we could do something and create some opportunities, and we did that early on,” Head coach Andrew Palileo said. “We were kind of setting it up as the first two sets were going along and we changed a couple of plays in that third set based on what we were doing earlier.”

The Mean Green (9-9, Conference USA 4-6) hit .306 percent as a team, including a perfect three kills on three attempts for senior setter Kaliegh Skopal, who had 32 assists and seven digs as well.

“I think that we weren’t connecting as much, we’re just a little off on the pass and the decision-making was just a little off,” Palileo said. “We just have to tweak that and hone in on where I want that ball to go and give Kaliegh some options and let her decide where to put that ball, she did a good job there in the third set for sure.”

Other key players for the Mean Green included junior outside hitter Rhett Robinson, who lead the team in kills with 12 and senior outside hitter Barbara Martin, who had nine kills of her own and 10 digs. Martin also put up a potential play of the season candidate, in which she saved the ball on the back edge of the court, then recovered back to her spot and solo blocked an incoming spike.

“It was pretty awesome after the fact,” Martin said. “It didn’t feel like any other play, I was just recovering for my teammates and determined not to let them get a kill. I just went all out.”

Senior outside hitter Valerie Valerian finished with seven kills, nine digs, and two blocks Wednesday was her sixth game back with the Mean Green.

“Val’s getting better and better each game and our chemistry’s getting better with her in there,” Palileo said. “The slight change that we made putting her back in the [starting lineup], all the older players have to get reacquainted with her and get used to again the way Val plays.”

North Texas embarks on a three-game road trip to end the regular season, including a two-game series with the University of Southern Mississippi (9-6, C-USA 4-4) that will likely determine if the Mean Green will make the C-USA tournament.

“They haven’t been in the tournament for a while and we haven’t qualified yet for the tournament, so we have a lot to play for as well,” Palileo said. “I think it’ll be a good road test because the following week if we make the tournament, we’ll be right back at Southern Miss.”

Up Next: North Texas plays Southern Mississippi (9-6, C-USA 4-4) at 12 p.m. on Sunday and 11 a.m. on Monday.

Featured Image: Redshirt-junior Henrianna Ibarra celebrates after the Mean Green score against Louisiana Tech on March 15, 2021. Image by Zachary Thomas

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James Carroll

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