DENTON, Texas (9/11/08) Two tournaments, two all-tournament team selections. The North Texas volleyball team has seen some notable individual performances so far, but now the Mean Green looks to piece it all together this weekend at the Utah Valley Invitational.
It’s tough to complain with what Roxana Casvean and Salah Schoenecke have accomplished over the last two weekends. The outside hitting duo have matched each other kill for kill, and padded their resumes with Oral Roberts Classic and Mean Green Volleyball Classic all-tourney honors, respectively.
Unfortunately, that hasn’t translated to the win column, as the Mean Green enter Friday’s Utah Valley Invitational with a 1-5 record. This weekend, head coach Cassie Headrick and the Mean Green are determined to put the final pieces of the puzzle together and bring home its first tournament title since 2006.
“As a coaching staff, we believe we should be going into this tournament at 3-3,” Headrick said. “Right now we are having trouble finishing off our opponents. We have to learn to finish off matches and play hard on every point of every match. We will get there, and once we do, we can be a pretty tough team.”
The Mean Green takes on Utah Valley (0-5) on Friday at 8 p.m. and Idaho State (1-8) Saturday at 2 p.m. Live stats are available through the Utah Valley athletics website.
North Texas Game Notes
WHAT TO WATCH FOR
Roxana Casvean earned Oral Roberts Classic All-Tournament team honors, making it two straight weeks for a North Texas outside hitter to make an all-tourney squad. Casvean tied for the team lead with 24 kills on a team-high .232 hitting, and also added three blocks. Salah Schoenecke matched Casvean with 24 kills this weekend after taking home all-tournament honors at the Mean Green Volleyball Classic.
Cassie Headrick has historically shown an ability to spread the ball offensively, but this year’s team has a knack for picking up the slack on the other side of the ball. The Mean Green has five players with at least 20 digs, and two players with over 45. Sarah Willey won the most squad’s most contested position, the starting libero role, and has posted 51 digs, while transfer Salah Schoenecke has emerged as a leader with 46 digs.
A 1-5 start isn’t anything that North Texas can’t overcome. Since 2000 only two North Texas team have had records over .500 in their first six matches, and three of the last four teams were winless over that span. The NT team that won the Sun Belt West Division championship in 2006 lost its first three matches before taking 11 of the last 13 matches of the regular season.
You have to go back to 1999 to find a North Texas team that finished the season with a lower season attack percentage than this year’s .117. Since 2007, NT its 12-3 when it hits above .200 as a team, but that record falls to 1-23 when it hits under that mark. The Mean Green snagged its lone win when it hit .290 on Jackson State at the Mean Green Volleyball Classic.