LAFAYETTE, La. - It took the North Texas volleyball team what seemed like an eternity to win a five-set match this year, but NT has turned the tables in its last two outings. The Mean Green knocked off Denver in five sets on Tuesday, and held off Louisiana-Lafayette to win in five on Friday night (25-14, 25-23, 22-25, 24-26, 15-11).
The Mean Green (14-9, 6-2 Sun Belt West) had lost its first five matches that went the distance, but stretched its Sun Belt West Division lead to 2.5 games with Friday's thriller over the Ragin' Cajuns (12-9, 3-3 Sun Belt West).
NT won the first two sets with ease, but allowed ULL to rally to take the set to five. With momentum squarely in its side, ULL jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the fifth set until a Rachelle Wilson block stopped the bleeding. That's when the Mean Green sprung separate 5-0 and 6-0 runs to end the Ragin' Cajuns' night.
Wilson notched a career-high 16 kills on .424 hitting. The sophomore also racked up a team-best three blocks. Shelley Morton also reached double-figures with a dozen kills on a team-high 34 attacks.
North Texas came out firing in the first set, rolling up a .406 attack percentage and a 15-7 edge in kills. NT held the Ragin' Cajuns to a zero hitting percentage in the 25-14 lopsided win.
ULL responded well in the second frame, and came from behind to tie the set at 23 apiece. That's when the big block of Lacy Reasons and Melanie Boykins forced set point, and Reason's eighth kill of the match ended the Ragin' Cajun rally.
Both setter Kayla Saey and libero Sarah Willey posted double-digit digs by the end of the second set. Saey also tallied a game-high 48 assists, while Willey - the reigning Sun Belt Defensive Player of the Week - notched a match-high 25 digs.
As a team, North Texas racked up 100 total digs, its third outing over the century mark this year. NT outdueled the Ragin' Cajuns 66-54 in kills.
North Texas tries to extend its winning streak to four against ULM on Saturday. The Mean Green has won five of its last six outings.