DENTON (9/13/02) - The North Texas volleyball team’s (2-8) 2002 home debut saw a solid Washington team (6-1) hand the Mean Green a 3-0 (30-26, 30-22, 30-25) defeat in both team’s opening match of the 2002 Super 8/Sports Magic Mean Green Classic.
Paige Benjamin’s match-high 23 kills led an explosive offensive attack for the Huskies that propelled Washington to a .400 hitting percentage. North Texas finished the match with a .189 hitting percentage and 35 kills in comparison to Washington’s 58.
"Washington will not only attack you offensively but with aggressive serving as well and we saw that tonight," said North Texas head coach Cassie Headrick. "We lined Tanya Samples up on the outside at 6-2 and they were still hitting over us."
The Mean Green came out strong and actually held a 26-25 advantage late in game one, but Washington rolled off the games last five points to claim the come-from-behind victory. North Texas once again had a strong start in the second game and had the score tied 17-17 midway through the contest, but once again it was Washington that got hot and went on a 13-5 run to seal a game-two win. Although game three saw 15 ties, North Texas only held the lead for one serve as the Huskies were able to pull away toward the end of the game for the 30-25 victory.
"I thought we played together tonight and did some good things at times," said Headrick. "Jill Ruskowski played an all around good match and I thought Anne Pope gave us an offensive spark."
Corina Marginas was the only North Texas player to finish the match with double-figure kills (11), but four other players finished with at least five. Marginas, Kristin Sheppard, Jill Ruskowski, Tanya Samples and Anne Pope accounted for all the Mean Green kills, while Andrea Hansel led the team defensively with nine digs.
North Texas will continue its play in the tourney tomorrow at 11:30 a.m. against Louisiana Tech, who defeated Texas A&M-Corpus Christi 3-0 in its first match of the tournament. The Mean Green will then play the Mean Green Classic’s final match at 5 p.m. against Texas A&M-Corpus Christi.