BOWLING GREEN, Ky. (9/28/07) North Texas volleyball’s bid for back-to-back come from behind wins fell just three points short at Western Kentucky on Friday, 19-30, 25-30, 30-28, 30-27, 12-15.
After decidedly dropping the first two games, the Mean Green (5-12, 1-2 SBC) rallied to put the Hilltoppers (14-3, 3-0 SBC) against the ropes in the fifth and deciding game. NT surged out to an 11-6 lead in the fifth game before a 9-1 Western Kentucky run put the match away.
“We did a great job of serving and getting them out of their game,” said North Texas head coach Cassie Headrick. “This is one of the toughest places to play in the Sun Belt, and I think we showed a lot of guts and character tonight.”
The Hilltoppers thoroughly dominated the opening two frames, leading NT 44-15 in kills with a deadly .427 team attack percentage.
Usually a quiet team after the halftime break, North Texas came out of the locker room on fire and silenced the Hilltopper attack in the third and fourth games. An average of over five Hilltopper service errors per game, and a steady stream of Katy Prokof and Rachel Raley put the Mean Green back in the match.
Prokof and Raley posted 17 and 13 kills respectively on the night.
North Texas trailed Arkansas State 0-2 on Sunday before rallying for dramatic 3-2 win at home. Sunday represented the Mean Green's first 0-2 come-from-behind win in four seasons, and just the third of the Cassie Headrick era.
The Hilltoppers had a healthy respect for North Texas libero Jessica Hulsebosch, and attempted to spread the attack all over the court. Ten of the 11 NT players in the match registered digs, including a team-high 13 from Heather Maddox.
Hulsebosch notched 11 digs on the night, which ended the senior’s school-record run of six straight 20-dig matches.
The Hilltopper defense was no match for Brooke Engel’s serve. The senior, who leads the nation in service aces with 1.00 per game, landed five aces on WKU.
Erica Wendell posted another record-breaking night at the net. The senior notched a career-best nine blocks on the night.
North Texas returns to action on Sunday at the defending Sun Belt Champions, Middle Tennessee (16-1, 3-0).