Denton (10/26/01) - The North Texas volleyball team (10-12, 5-5) was able to reverse its recent struggles in five-game matches with a 3-2 Sun Belt Conference victory over New Orleans (6-15, 2-8) on Friday night at the Snake Pit.
The Mean Green dropped its previous three matches in five games and won its first five-game match since Sept. 21. The Mean Green has now played 12 five-game matches in 22 outings and holds a 4-8 record in those matches.
"I think we are just starting to look at game five as an opportunity," said North Texas head coach Cassie Headrick. "We struggled with it in the past and good teams don’t make mistakes in game five. We were fortunate that we made some mistakes and still came out on top. We are starting to change our attitude about the fifth game and seeing what we can do."
Despite missing junior middle blocker Tanya Samples (Nocona, Tex.), who is day-to-day with an ankle injury, the Mean Green captured the victory. Samples has 100 kills and 52 blocks in just 50 games this season.
"I thought our confidence might be a little shaky with the absence of Tanya (Samples), which is why I was so glad to see us come out strong in game one," said Headrick. "I just wish we could have maintained that intensity the entire match. Jessica (Shockley) came up huge for us tonight."
Shockley (So.; MB; Saginaw, Tex.) registered four blocks and a career-high 15 kills.
The Mean Green had no trouble with the Privateers in game one, cruising to a 30-19 victory. Game two was tied 21-21 before UNO was able to put together a 9-3 run to even the match at one game each. North Texas came out strong in game three and jumped out to a 10-1 advantage, but UNO stormed back with an 18-4 run to capture its largest lead of the game at 19-14. North Texas prevailed, however, coming back to win the game, 30-27. New Orleans won game four easily, 30-18, but UNT would not be denied as it went on to win game five by a 15-11 score.
Corina Marginas (So.; OH; Brasov, Romania) ended the match with 32 kills, matching her season-high. The 32 kills is also the best in the Sun Belt Conference this year and ties the fourth-most in school history. She recorded her 13th double-double of the season with 16 digs as well. Kristin Sheppard (So.; S; Texarkana, Tex.) accounted for the eighth most assists in North Texas history with a career-best 64 and had a double-double with 15 digs. Also recording a double-double was Brieanne Fowler (So.; OH; Odessa, Tex.), who had 19 kills and 18 digs. Stephanie Connors (So.; OH; San Antonio, Tex.) played strong defensively with a career-high 16 digs.
North Texas posted a .239 hitting percentage and had 79 kills in comparison to UNO’s .228 percentage and 74 kills. The Mean Green tallied 74 assists on 79 kills, which is the fifth and eighth most in school history, respectively.
The Mean Green has now won its most games (10) since winning 24 in 1995. The victory also marked the Mean Green’s first-ever sweep of an opponent in Sun Belt Conference play and the first time since 1995 that it swept a conference opponent in any league.
North Texas will square off against South Alabama this Sunday in a 12 p.m. match at the Snake Pit.