North Texas Daily

Recap: Volleyball swept by Rice in back-to-back series matches, remains in hunt for conference tournament seed

Recap: Volleyball swept by Rice in back-to-back series matches, remains in hunt for conference tournament seed

Recap: Volleyball swept by Rice in back-to-back series matches, remains in hunt for conference tournament seed
March 08
21:26 2021

Mean Green volleyball suffered two conference losses to Rice University in Houston on Sunday and Monday. Sunday’s game featured a narrow 3-2 loss while Monday’s match consisted of a decisive 3-0 defeat.

The two losses dampen the Mean Green’s (7-9 overall, Conference USA 2-6) chances of catching the University of Texas-San Antonio (5-9, C-USA 3-5) the coveted fourth and final spot in the C-USA tournament. Rice (11-3, C-USA 10-0) stands atop the West C-USA division.

“All we can do is go back home and regroup,” Palileo said. “We played hard in both matches this weekend, but we didn’t get the results we wanted. There’s nothing you can do except get back in the gym this week and improve as a team as we head into the last couple weeks of the season.”

Despite North Texas being two games below .500 they were able to get reinforcements as senior outside hitter Valerie Valerian returned from her internship and reclaimed a starting role. What prompted Valerian to return is unclear as she was unavailable for comment.

In her first two games back, Valerian posted nine kills and 14 digs on Sunday and six kills and eleven digs on Monday. With Valerian making her return it still remains to be seen whether her role will either expand or shrink as the season pushes on.

The two games were similar in stats but much different in result. Rice won every category in the first game except for aces, which North Texas won four to three, and errors, with the Mean Green committing 23 to Rice’s 35. Game two was similar except for aces, which was tied at two apiece, and blocks which tied at six each.

“They are a really talented team,” Head coach Andrew Palileo said. “Rice made several really gutsy plays throughout the match and we didn’t make the big plays when we needed to.”

Up Next: Valerian and the Mean Green rematch the No. 6 Baylor University Bears in Denton Friday at 6 p.m.

Featured Image: Sophomore defensive specialist Aleeyah Galdeira receives a serve against Oklahoma on March, 4 2021. Image by Zachary Thomas

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James Carroll

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