Huntsville, Tex. (8/31/01) - The North Texas Mean Green volleyball team bounced back to defeat the Univ. of Oklahoma in five games after suffering a 3-2 setback to Texas A&M-Corpus Christi in its 2001 season debut at the Sam Houston State Tournament.
Despite winning its first two games against the Sooners, 30-23 and 30-26, it took the Mean Green the full five games to finally finish off Oklahoma. After getting down 2-0, the Sooners rallied to win games three and four by scores of 30-25 and 36-34, respectively. However, North Texas ended the Sooner comeback with a 15-7 win in the final game.
"We played much better against Oklahoma than we did this morning," said North Texas head coach Cassie Headrick. "The third game Oklahoma came out a little stronger and we didn’t rise up like we should have. This match should have never gone five games."
Corina Marginas (So., OH, Brasov, Romania) and Brieanne Fowler (Odessa, Tex.) exploded for 20-plus kills each against Oklahoma and both hit over .300 for the entire match. Dating back to October 1 of last year, it was the 17th match in a row that Marginas has tallied double-figures in the kill column and Fowler’s 21 kills were a career-best mark. Sophomore Kristin Sheppard (Texarkana, Tex.) was able to play her first full-match at setter, her true position, and posted a double-double with 42 assists and 10 digs.
North Texas took the Islanders to a full five games in its first match, but dropped the deciding game 15-8. Texas A&M-Corpus Christi struck first with a 30-25 game-one win and took game three by a 30-24 score. North Texas won the second and fourth games by scores of 30-15 and 30-19, respectively. Despite dropping the match, the Mean Green actually outscored the Islanders 117-109.
"Mental errors hurt us the entire match," said Headrick. "We made too many mistakes and didn’t look as sharp as I had hoped. It’s a disappointing loss, but at times we were doing some good things."
Already without middle blocker Tanya Samples (Jr., Nocona, Tex.) due to an ankle injury, the Mean Green lost outside hitter Stephanie Connors (So., San Antonio, Tex.) early in the first game with an ankle injury. Connors came back to the play the second match and is expected to be ready to go for NT’s two matches on Saturday. Freshman setter Amber Clearman (Spicewood, Tex.) was forced into alot of playing time due to the loss of Connors, but had a solid performance with four kills and one service ace.
"Amber came in, did a good job and accepted the responsibility very well," said Headrick.
Marginas led all players with a match-high 16 kills and Fowler notched double-digit kills with 11.
North Texas will face Sam Houston State at 12:30 p.m. tomorrow and close out the tournament with Sun Belt Conference foe UL Lafayette at 7 p.m.