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Volleyball falls to Southern Miss in C-USA opener, snaps 11-game win streak

Volleyball falls to Southern Miss in C-USA opener, snaps 11-game win streak

September 23
00:00 2017

The Mean Green volleyball team couldn’t quite pull off a win Friday night in a nail biter of a Conference USA opener against the University of Southern Mississippi (24-26, 27-25, 20-25, 25-23, 13-15) in Hattiesburg, MS.

North Texas (12-2, 0-1) started off losing the first set 24-26, but bounced back in the second with a 27-25 win. In the third set the Mean Green fell short by five points making the score 20-25. After trailing for most of the fourth, North Texas pulled off a 25-23 win forcing a decisive fifth set.

After an exciting few minutes, the Mean Green lost 13-15 to the Golden Eagles (10-6, 1-0) in the finale.

Senior right side hitter Alexis Wright led the team with 19 kills, 2 digs, and 4 blocks. Senior middle blocker Holly Milam followed closely behind with 12 kills, 3 digs, and 1 block.

Milam discussed what factors contributed to the team’s loss in the final set.

“The fifth set was a hard fought battle,” Milam said. “Both teams were just putting everything they had on the court, and we ended up on the losing end. I don’t think there was anything specific we did wrong in the fifth set, but I think we should have never been in that situation. We didn’t play our best overall game today and that showed.”

Despite losing the first set, the Mean Green were able to come out with a win in the second set tying the match 1-1.

“We just needed more energy,” Wright said. “We knew they would come out ready to play, and we needed to play our game.”

Fighting hard in the fifth set wasn’t quite enough for the Mean Green as they fall short of a win, giving the Golden Eagles the match victory.

The game ended in a heart-breaking five set loss, but the girls remain hopeful for what lies ahead.

“We aren’t going to let this loss affect us,” freshman outside hitter, Valerie Valerian, said. “I think we are more determined than ever now to beat FIU. We just need to clean up some small things, but overall, we are going into FIU with our heads held high.”

Head coach Andrew Palileo said his team needed to improve for the rest of C-USA play and future games, while pointing out the keys to Sunday’s game against Florida International.

“We need to play tougher in the moments that matter,” Palileo said. “I haven’t had a chance to look at Florida International yet, but we need to focus on ourselves Sunday to make sure we are executing our game plans.”

Next up: The Mean Green take on Florida International University at 12 p.m. Sunday in Miami, FL.

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Mallory Hartley

Mallory Hartley

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