DENTON, Texas (10/15/08) The teams responsible for the last three Sun Belt volleyball titles invade Denton this weekend. North Texas takes on two-time defending champ Middle Tennessee on Thursday night and Western Kentucky on Sunday afternoon.
Ranked 15th in the Preseason American Volleyball Coaches Association Poll, Middle Tennessee (14-3, 4-1 Sun Belt East) brings the Sun Belt’s most potent squad to Denton, led by outside hitter Ashley Asberry and setter Leslie Clark.
Asberry ranks second in the NCAA in attack percentage with 203 kills on .482 hitting this season. Clark has quarterbacked the Blue Raiders with precision, posting a Sun Belt high 11.80 assists per set, which ranks fifth in the nation.
The Blue Raiders won’t soon forget their last regular-season trip to the Mean Green Volleyball Center. An underdog North Texas squad topped MTSU in five sets on the strength of Brooke Engel and Catherine Coffey. The NT duo combined to block four of the final five points in the deciding set to secure the Mean Green win.
Another Eastern Division contender, Western Kentucky (14-6, 3-2 Sun Belt East) poses a similar threat. The Hilltoppers are coming off consecutive losses to UALR and Cincinnati, but remains the only team in the Sun Belt to best the Blue Raiders. North Texas has yet to beat the Hilltoppers in nine matches dating back to 2000.
Megan Argabright and Julia Noe lead a supercharged Hilltopper offense that leads the league with a .288 attack percentage. Argabright is averaging 3.49 kills per set on .403 hitting, which ranks second in the SBC behind Asbury. Noe ranks third in the conference with a .383 mark.
North Texas and the Blue Raiders kick off the weekend’s action on Thursday night at 7 p.m. Sunday’s match against Western Kentucky starts at 1 p.m.