WICHITA, Kan. (9/12/03) -- The North Texas volleyball team (5-5) opened play at the Green Mill Restaurant Shocker Classic Friday, suffering back-to-back losses against San Diego State and Oral Roberts.
The Mean Green fell 3-0 (30-21, 30-15, 30-24) against SDSU in its first match before dropping a 3-1 (18-30, 23-30, 32-30, 18-30) decision to ORU. North Texas failed to hit over .100 in either match, while San Diego State and Oral Roberts each posted at least a .224 attack percentage.
North Texas entered the tournament without the program’s eighth all-time kills leader in senior outside hitter Brieanne Fowler (Odessa, Tex.), who was injured in pregame against Tulsa on Wednesday. While the Mean Green had at least three players record double figure kills in each of its first eight matches, it had just two players post at least 10 kills against both the Aztecs and Golden Eagles.
The Aztecs were dominant at the net with 14.5 blocks, while holding the Mean Green to three total blocks. North Texas had six more attacks than SDSU, but the Aztecs had 10 more digs and 12 more kills. Brittney Gregory (Klein, Tex.) and Corina Marginas (Brasov, Romania) each had 12 kills to pace the North Texas offense.
North Texas had six blocks against ORU, but the Golden Eagles recorded 10. The Mean Green posted more attacks (193 to 170) against ORU as well, but again gave up more kills to the Golden Eagles. ORU finished with 62 kills in comparison to NT’s 52 and 86 digs to the Mean Green’s 77. North Texas had its best showing in its third-game victory, posting the matches single-game high for attack percentage at .298.
Jill Ruskowski (Richmond, Tex.) recorded a match-high 20 kills, marking the second time in the team’s last three matches that she has recorded at least 20 kills. The senior outside hitter recorded her fifth double-double of the season with a match-high 23 digs as well. Freshman Tara Hooser saw her first career action in the match, finishing with five kills, three block assists and two digs. Heidi Johnson (Garland, Tex.) and Kristin Sheppard (Texarkana, Tex.) split time at setter for North Texas against the Golden Eagles. Johnson was responsible for 28 assists and Sheppard finished with 16.
North Texas will conclude play at the tournament on Saturday, facing host-school Wichita State at 12 p.m. and Nicholls State at 5 p.m.