|By Stephen Howard, Nov. 1, 2010 - 3:55 p.m. |
GREEN GANG: New volleyball coach Ken Murczek came in preaching about Sun Belt West Division titles back in January. The former Kansas and Virginia assistant said this program could and should be contending for that division crown every single year.
Those words had all of us thinking, "Wow, maybe this guy can win a division title someday."
Apparently, Murczek wasn't content with "someday" as his Mean Green enters its final three regular season tilts with a one-match lead in the standings over Arkansas State just 10 months after he took the job.
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In essence, Saturday's match at ASU is for all the marbles. The winner gets some new hardware for its trophy case and the driver's seat for the conference tournament's No. 3 seed. The Mean Green's magic number is four, and a head-to-head win over ASU would go a long way in clenching.
All of that stuff is nice, but after dropping an earlier season meeting to the Red Wolves, this match is about more than division titles for the Mean Green. This showdown in Jonesboro is about payback, and proving to the rest of the Sun Belt that North Texas is a force to be reckoned with now and in the future.
NT showed the conference powers that it's no pushover last weekend by becoming the first squad to take Middle Tennessee to five sets in 2010. The Blue Raiders have won 19-of-20 matches, but were out-hit, out-dug and out-assisted at the Mean Green Volleyball Center.
Now with everything on the line - the Sun Belt West title, retribution and respect - it's time for North Texas to deliver just like Murczek predicted in January.