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Recap: Volleyball’s season ends at the hands of Western Kentucky in Conference USA Tourney

Recap: Volleyball’s season ends at the hands of Western Kentucky in Conference USA Tourney

Recap: Volleyball’s season ends at the hands of Western Kentucky in Conference USA Tourney
April 01
23:29 2021

Mean Green volleyball’s season came to a close in the first round of the Conference USA Tournament against the No. 18 Western Kentucky University Hilltoppers. After a 5-0 run near the end of the season to get into the tournament, North Texas was swept by by the Lady Hilltoppers by a score of 3-0.

“I think that we let that first set get away from us,” Head coach Andrew Palileo said. “They’re a good team, give Western credit for that.”

The Hilltopper’s (18-0, C-USA 12-0) offensive attack was led by junior middle hitter Lauren Matthews, who had 17 kills on .552 percent shooting, while the Mean Green (11-11, C-USA 6-6) were led by senior outside hitter Barbara Martin, who had 15 kills on .324 percent shooting.

“I think Barb played a really good game,” Palileo said. “It’s a good way to close your career having a good match like that both offensively and defensively.”

Despite Martin’s numbers, North Texas came up short in all three sets. The Mean Green had a chance to take the third on an 8-0 run, but Western Kentucky held on to take the set 27-25.

“We had some blocks in there, we had some nice plays, we had some defensive digs, we did it all in that stretch,” Palileo said. “It was unfortunate we couldn’t do that throughout the whole match, but at least we fought back.”

Martin, along with senior outside hitter Valeria Valerian and senior middle blocker Miranda Youmans will not be back with the Mean Green next season. Captain and senior setter Kaliegh Skopal, however, will be returning to the squad for one more year.

“The highlight for me is the overall season,” Palileo said. “The rough start we had, fighting our way back into the tournament, this was the toughest year since I’ve been here as far as getting into the tournament. I’m really proud of the way we finished.”

Featured Image: Senior outside hitter Barbara Martin 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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