Mean Green Volleyball Splits Friday's Matches
North Texas Takes On Arkansas-Little Rock Tomorrow At 10 A.M.
NACOGDOCHES - The North Texas volleyball team split its matches Friday, defeating Incarnate Word and falling to Stephen F. Austin on day one of the Holiday Inn Express SFA Volleyball Invitational.
The Mean Green overpowered Incarnate Word en route to a 3-0 (26-24, 25-15, 25-11) sweep in their first match on Friday.
North Texas took the early lead in set one behind a strong start from Jordyn Williams. Incarnate Word withstood the Mean Green attack, and rallied to take an 11-10 lead after back-to-back attack errors by the Mean Green. The teams traded ties and lead changes, with Incarnate Word taking a 22-20 advantage on a kill by Autumn Lockey. North Texas rallied back and took a 24-23 lead, going on to win the set 26-24 on a kill by Holly Milam.
"We started out a little sluggish in the opening set, but we found a way to win," head coach Andrew Palileo said. "Our serving strategy worked in sets two and three, and we were able to attack them through that."
The Mean Green controlled sets two and three, with neither ever being in doubt. In set two, North Texas held a nine-point advantage at 18-9, after a service ace by Holly Milam and a kill by Alexis Wright. North Texas closed the set strong, securing a 25-15 set victory.
Momentum stayed with North Texas in set three as the team built a commanding 10-4 lead on a kill by Amanda Chamberlain. After a North Texas timeout at 13-8, the team went on a 12-3 run to end the set and secure its fifth win of the season with a final score of 25-11.
North Texas posted its highest attack percentage of the season at .297. Chamberlain, Walker and Milam all hit over .400 in the match.
"Anytime we can pass the ball well, it puts us in a strong position to win with the variety of hitters we have this year," Palileo added. "The difference was our outsides. They were able to hit at a high percentage, and we were able to distribute the ball around the court making us tough to stop."
Chamberlain and Wright reached double figures in kills with 12 and 10, respectively. Holly Milam chipped in seven kills of her own, while BrynCaitlin Walker registered six kills in the match.
North Texas (5-8) returned to the court versus Stephen F. Austin in the last match on Friday, falling to the Ladyjacks 3-0 (25-15, 25-15, 25-17) at Shelton Gym.
"SFA out-hustled us tonight and we didn't capitalize on the opportunities that they gave us," Palileo said. "We need to be able execute when the opportunity presents itself and we didn't tonight. We need to regroup and get ready for Arkansas-Little Rock tomorrow."
The Ladyjacks controlled the pace of play in sets one and two, behind a strong defense and a consistent offensive attack. Aided by 15 North Texas attack errors along with out-hitting the Mean Green .323 to .062, SFA secured back-to-back 25-15 set victories and a 2-0 lead.
After the break, SFA stormed out to an 11-4 lead. Back-to-back kills by Abby McIntyre stretched the lead to 13-5. The Mean Green mounted a late challenge, but SFA answered with kills by McIntyre and Peyton Redmond, ending on a 5-3 run to secure the match victory.
The SFA defense tallied 59 digs opposed to the Mean Green, which kept the SFA offense attack in rhythm and led to a final attack percentage of .347.
- Wright surpassed 400 kills in the match after collecting her fourth kill in set two versus UIW
- Milam set a new career-high with four aces. The team had six total
- Karley York has turned into a double-double machine since taking over at setter, logging another with a 32 assist and 10 dig performance versus UIW
- Senior Amy Henard took over at setter in set two versus SFA, tallying 12 assists in the contest
- SFA ended a three-match losing streak versus the Mean Green with the win
Up Next For North Texas
The Mean Green will finish off the tournament versus Arkansas-Little Rock on Saturday at 10 a.m. in Shelton Gym.