North Texas Completes Comeback To Advance To Semifinals
Valerian, Williams Record Career-Highs In Kills
BOWLING GREEN, Ky. – After losing the first set, the North Texas volleyball team went on to defeat Marshall, 3-1 (19-25, 25-20, 25-16, 25-12), in the quarterfinals of the 2017 Conference USA Volleyball Championship. Freshman outside hitter Valerie Valerian led the team with a career-high 18 kills.
Junior middle blocker Jordyn Williams also set a career-high in kills, joining Valerian in double-digits with 15. Senior middle blocker Amanda Chamberlain posted a team-high seven blocks and tallied six kills.
The Thundering Herd ran out to a 6-1 lead to open the match and didn’t look back, cruising to a first-set victory, despite six kills from Valerian and fellow freshman Barbara Teakell. Errors marred North Texas (27-2) and allowed Marshall (11-19) to mount a 19-11 advantage. The Mean Green strung together a pair of runs to pull within 22-18, but their comeback efforts were halted by a pair of service errors that set up Jac’cara Walker’s set-sealing kill.
A potential upset began to take shape as the Thundering Herd got out to an 11-6 lead in the second frame, but North Texas responded with an 8-1 run led by a pair of kills and blocks for senior right-side Alexis Wright. The Mean Green wouldn’t trail again in the match. Junior setter Karley York accounted for the final three points of the second frame on a pair of kills and an ace to close out the set
Williams helped continue the North Texas momentum out of the intermission with three early kills to get the Mean Green out to a 5-2 lead. After Marshall used a 6-1 run to pull within 11-10, North Texas countered with a 7-1 run behind a pair of Williams kills and Chamberlain blocks. Chamberlain finished the set with four block assists down the stretch, including one to take the third set and a two-sets-to-one lead.
In the final set, Valerian and Williams combined for 12 of the Mean Green’s first 17 points, running out to a 17-7 lead. Williams finished the set with a team-high eight kills with the last putting match point in sight at 22-11. The Thundering Herd’s 18th attack error of the match sealed match point for North Texas.
North Texas faces the winner of UT-San Antonio and Florida Atlantic in the semifinals at 4 p.m. Saturday.
• Marshall is just the seventh team to take the opening set from the Mean Green this season, and teams are 2-4 when doing so.
• Chamberlain passed Brittney Gregory for fifth in school history in career total blocks (361).
• North Texas has reached the semifinals of the C-USA tournament in four of its five seasons in the league.
• Valerian reached double-digit kills for the 13th time this season.