Mean Green Advance To First-Ever C-USA Championship Game
North Texas Defeats UT San Antonio, 3-1
BOWLING GREEN, Ky. – The North Texas volleyball team was forced to come from behind again in a 3-1 (19-25, 25-16, 25-18, 27-25) win over UT San Antonio in the semifinals of the 2017 Conference USA Volleyball Championship. The Mean Green advance to the C-USA championship game for the first time since joining the league in 2013.
Freshman libero Henrianna Ibarra led the team with 29 digs, followed by fellow newcomer Valerie Valerian with 27, both career highs. Valerian added 13 kills, three assists and a block. Junior setter Karley York and senior middle blocker Holly Milam each registered a double-double, as York finished with 55 assists and 13 digs and Milam recorded 14 kills and 10 digs.
For the second straight match, North Texas (28-2) found themselves on the wrong side of the first set, due to nine attack errors. The back-and-forth affair saw 10 tie scores en route to a 10-10 stalemate before the Roadrunners (12-16) went on a 5-1 run in which freshman outside hitter Barbara Teakell committed three errors. Another 5-1 UTSA run extended the lead to 20-13, but the Mean Green allowed the last three points of the set on errors.
Milam posted four of the team’s first five kills to open the second frame, helping the team to a 6-3 lead. North Texas maintained the three point advantage until a seven-point scoring streak, led by four Jordyn Williams kills, gave the Mean Green a commanding 18-8 lead. After the Roadrunners trimmed the lead to 21-15, Valerian accounted for three of the final four points on a kill, an assist and a block assist to close out the set.
The third set marked another hot start for Milam, who posted three-straight kills to give North Texas a 6-5 advantage, but the score would draw even six times on the way to a 15-15 tie. Williams and senior right-side Alexis Wright combined for five kills in a 6-0 run, and senior middle blocker Amanda Chamberlain capped the set with a kill and a block to give the Mean Green a two-sets-to-one lead.
It was all about short runs in the final set as North Texas had three 4-0 runs and UTSA had two. The Mean Green’s final streak, fueled by back-to-back Williams kills, gave them a 22-18 lead. The Roadrunners stormed back to knot it at 25-25, but Valerian recorded her final two kills to set up and clinch match point.
North Texas will take on host Western Kentucky in the C-USA title match at noon Sunday.
• The Mean Green finished with a single-match season high 90 digs as a team.
• The 2017 team now ranks 10th in school history in single-season kills (1,631), assists (1,519) and block assists (362).
• Saturday marked York’s 10th double-double of the season, the fifth for Valerian and the third for Milam.
• Milam is now tied with Anne Pope for the sixth-most career block assists (244) in program history.
• York became just the sixth North Texas setter to reach 1,300 assists in a season (1,301).