North Texas (10-7, 1-1 SBC West) vs. ULM (7-6, 1-2 SBC West)
Sept. 30, 2011 – 6 p.m.
Monroe, La. - ULM Activity Center
All-Time Series: NT leads 20-10
DENTON, Texas – On Sunday North Texas volleyball’s Ken Murczek coached his 50th game and picked up his 30th career win as the Mean Green knocked off Florida Atlantic in five sets. As a matter of fact, only one NT coach has ever gotten off to a better 50-match start, and that came with the founding of the program in 1976.
Those kinds of accolades are nice, but Murczek and the Mean Green realize they’re meaningless if NT can’t keep its momentum going into its first Sun Belt road trip of the year at ULM and Louisiana-Lafayette this weekend. The ultimate goal is defending its Sun Belt West Division title.
Consistency is the name of the game in volleyball, and no one has been more consistent for NT than Shelley Morton. Now that Morton has sufficiently “recovered” from her hand injury, the senior has returned to her steady form. Morton put up 13 kills and 13 digs in the SBC opener against FIU and followed that outing with 16 kills and 16 digs versus Florida Atlantic. For her career, Morton is averaging exactly 1.99 kills and 1.99 digs per set.
Sarah Willey became just the second North Texas player to ever cross the 1,500 dig plateau against Florida Atlantic on Sunday. The senior now has 1,512 career digs, which ranks second in school history behind her former assistant coach Jessica Hulsebosch (2,212 from 2004-07). Willey is only 359 digs shy of the Sun Belt’s all-time top five list.
Friday's opponent, ULM, made headlines on Tuesday night by finally snapping its 83 match Sun Belt losing streak with a 3-1 win over rival Louisiana-Lafayette, who NT plays on Sunday. The Warhawks got a match-high 14 kills from Blanca Ocana and 18 digs from Marcela Urbina in the victory. ULM held the Ragin' Cajuns to .071 hitting on the night.
The Warhawks began the year with a 3-0 win streak, the best in school history, and posted a 6-4 non-conference record - the program’s best start since 2005. ULM has lost 83 consecutive SBC matches dating back to a 3-0 North Texas win at the Mean Green Volleyball Center in 2006.
Louisiana-Lafayette presents a serve-receive challenge as one of the Sun Belt’s top serving squads. The Ragin’ Cajuns, who are 4-0 at home, rank second in the Sun Belt with 1.59 service aces per set thanks to Taylor Meade. The sophomore leads the conference with .52 aces per set for a total of 31 on the year.