Volleyball Extends Winning Streak To Eight Against Abilene Christian
Mean Green Post Fourth-Highest Team Attack Percentage
DENTON -- The North Texas volleyball team posted a team attack percentage of .482, ranking fourth in school history, in a 3-0 (25-10, 25-17, 25-14) win over Abilene Christian on Wednesday. The Mean Green committed just seven attack errors on 83 attempts with 47 kills.
"We've been really focusing on handling the ball on our side," North Texas head coach Andrew Palileo said. "When we're in system and do what we're supposed to do, we really put pressure on the other team."
In addition to limiting attack errors, the Mean Green made just one service error in the first set while racking up five aces. Led by a pair of aces from junior setter Alex Janak, North Texas recorded four of their first 12 points via aces, jumping out to a 12-3 lead over the Wildcats. Freshman outside hitter Valerie Valerian recorded the final ace of the set to extend the Mean Green lead to 16-5. Valerian, who led the team in kills (9) and aces (3), picked up her second kill of the night to close out the first set.
"We're consistently working on serving in practice," Valerian said. "Coach Palileo tells us to go after it and be aggressive and I think we did a good job of doing that."
"[Serving] is your first line of defense," Palileo said. "It sets up a lot of different things. How you block and defend depends on your serving. When we have certain players in the front row, we want to serve aggressively so we can set up our defense."
The tables turned against North Texas early in the second set as the team committed a pair of service errors and an ace for ACU gave the Wildcats a 7-6 lead. The Mean Green responded with nine straight points, highlighted by a pair of aces and a kill for junior setter Karley York, and a pair of kills by Valerian. After ACU cut the deficit back to seven, senior middle blocker Amanda Chamberlain posted three straight kills for North Texas to take a 20-11 lead. The Wildcats ceded set point to the Mean Green on their seventh attack error of the frame.
Senior middle back Holly Milam helped North Texas pick up where they left off at the service line, recording two of the team's four aces in the final set on the first two plays. The Mean Green ran out to a 19-6 advantage in the third set, thanks to a trio of kills for Valerian, in addition to two aces on back-to-back serves. Fellow freshman and outside hitter Barbara Teakell and York also contributed three kills in the run. Sophomore middle blocker Emma Eakin's pair of blocks in the final frame set up match point for North Texas, which she clinched on a block alongside freshman middle blocker Miranda Youmans.
North Texas hits the road to compete in the Mississippi State Invitational on Sept. 15 and 16 in Starkville, Miss. The Mean Green will face Southeastern Louisiana at 10 a.m. on Sept. 15.
North Texas extended its win streak to eight matches and 15 sets.
The Mean Green had six players with at least six kills in the match.
Janak has at least one ace in the last five matches.
Karley York's six kills marked a season high and fell one short of her career high.
Freshman libero Andi Elley recorded her first collegiate ace in the win.