WICHITA, Kan. (9/13/03) -- The North Texas volleyball team (6-6) fell 3-2 (22-30, 30-22, 40-38, 17-30, 14-16) in a tough-fought match against Wichita State to begin Saturday’s action at the Green Mill Restaurant Shocker Classic, but rebounded with a 3-0 (30-23, 30-25, 30-27) victory over Nicholls State to close out its play at the tournament.
The Mean Green snapped a three-match skid with its victory over the Colonels to even its record at 6-6, the program’s best start through 12 matches since Cassie Headrick’s first season as North Texas’ head coach in 2000. The match was the Mean Green’s third 3-0 victory of the season and, dating back to last season, marked its 12th shutout in its last 19 wins.
NT hit at least .256 in all three games and over .300 in the final two, finishing with an overall attack percentage of .314. Nicholls State actually finished with three more kills (48 to 45) than the Mean Green, but with a lower hitting percentage at .279. Led by Jill Ruskowski’s (Richmond, Tex.) match-high four service aces, North Texas piled up a season-high 11 aces. The Mean Green recorded seven blocks in comparison to the Colonels three, marking just the second time this season it has outblocked an opponent.
Brittney Gregory (Klein, Tex.) collected a team-high 12 kills and Ruskowski followed her with 10. Corina Marginas (Brasov, Romania) and Ruskowski led the Mean Green defensively with nine blocks each. Kristin Sheppard (Texarkana, Tex.) dished out a team-best 34 assists. Nicholls State was led by Caley Carter with 20 kills.
The Mean Green’s first match of the day saw it pin the Shockers on the ropes following a marathon 40-38 game-three win that gave it a 2-1 advantage. However, Wichita State cruised to a 30-17 win in game four and was able to hold off North Texas 16-14 in the final game. The 40 points scored in game three were the most ever by a North Texas team since the NCAA began 30-point matches in 2001.
North Texas had three players record double-figure kills, including Marginas with a season-high 26. Ruskowski recorded 13 kills and Gregory followed with 12. Marginas and Ruskowski posted double-doubles for kills and digs, while Sheppard recorded a double-double for assists and digs.
The two team’s stat lines were almost identical for kills, errors, attacks, attack percentage and assists. The Mean Green had 11 more digs, but gave up nine more blocks and 12 more aces to the Shockers. Wichita State had three players finish with at least 12 kills, including Cori Meyer’s team-high 21.
North Texas remains on the road for a match against Texas A&M-Corpus Christi on Sept. 16, but return home to host the Mean Green Classic Sept. 19-20. The Mean Green Classic will be NT’s final regular-season tournament of the year.