DENTON (10/26/03) -- The North Texas volleyball team (17-11, 7-2) rallied from a 2-1 deficit to force a decisive game-five against Arkansas-Little Rock (14-9, 5-4), but couldn’t finish the Trojans off in a 29-31, 30-28, 30-32, 30-27, 15-7 setback Sunday afternoon at the Snake Pit.
Despite getting 21 kills from Corina Marginas and 20 from Jill Ruskowski, North Texas couldn’t overcome an Arkansas-Little Rock attack that included 25 kills each from Ivana Kuzmic and Ivana Vracar. The loss snapped a six-match winning streak for the Mean Green and dropped its record to 17-11 overall and 7-2 in Sun Belt Conference play.
The first four games were very tight, each decided by three points or less in a match that took 2:21 to complete. UALR led game one 29-23 before North Texas rallied to tie the score at 29-29, but the Trojans ended the run with back-to-back points that secured the victory. The Mean Green made another huge turnaround in the third game, charging back from a 29-24 deficit to claim a 30-29 match-point lead. The Trojans once again regrouped, however, to win the games final three points.
While games two and four were both close in the closing moments, North Texas was the first team to 28 points in each game and was able to hold the Trojans off in the closing moments. While NT hit just .180 for the match, it posted its best single-game hitting percentage at .206 in the fourth contest.
UALR hit .234 for the match, but .533 in the fifth game as it opened up a 9-2 advantage and held at least a five-point lead the rest of the way. NT hit .077 in the game, its lowest single-game percentage of the day.
Kuzmic recorded eight blocks to lead the Trojans at the net, who finished with 14 blocks in comparison to the Mean Green’s nine. Both teams had some success serving as North Texas collected 10 aces and UALR finished with nine. The Mean Green finished with 79 digs, four more than the Trojans, but attempted 11 fewer attacks.
Marginas and Ruskowski recorded at least 20 kills for the second straight match and Brittney Gregory added 17 for North Texas. Kristin Sheppard handed out a match-high 52 assists, pushing her career total to 4,021 and making her the first player in school history to record 4,000 or more assists in a career. North Texas had five players post double-figure digs, including Amber Clearman with a career-high 16.
UALR had four players tally double-figure kills and two players post 20 digs. Ana Carolina Buccini and Vracar both finished with a double-double for the Trojans. Buccini finished with 10 kills and 20 digs, while Vracar recorded 25 kills and 20 digs.
North Texas remains at home Friday, Oct. 31, in a 7 p.m. match against South Alabama. The Mean Green will close out a four-match home stand Nov. 2 with a 1 p.m. match against New Orleans.