Mean Green Can?t Hold Early Lead In 3-1 Setback To New Mexico State

DENTON (11/5/04) -- The North Texas volleyball team (6-19, 5-7) took the first game off New Mexico State (24-2, 12-0) and held an early 5-1 lead in the second game, but that is when the defending Sun Belt Conference champion turned the match around to capture its 29th consecutive league victory by a 3-1 (25-30, 30-24, 30-22, 30-24) score Friday night at the Snake Pit.

NT smashed 19 kills in the first game and hit a team-high .204 while holding the Aggies to a .000 attack percentage and just 10 kills. However, NMSU heated up to hit at least .239 in the next three games and finish with an overall attack percentage of .200. While the Aggies recorded a higher attack percentage than the Mean Green, North Texas finished with one more kill at 62-61.

Already holding a one game advantage and leading 5-1 in the second game, North Texas was threatening to break out and had NMSU on the ropes. That is when NMSU showed why it is undefeated in Sun Belt play by responding with a 6-0 run to capture a lead it did not give up the rest of the game.

With the scored tied 12-12 in the third game, New Mexico State went on a 10-0 run to bust it open. North Texas pulled back within 21-24 late, but the Aggies held off the rally to claim an eight-point win. NMSU took advantage of its momentum early in the final game, jumping out to a 9-1 lead. The Aggies didn’t allow the Mean Green to get closer than five points the rest of the way.

North Texas was hurt by nine reception errors, four ball handling errors and a New Mexico State blocking attack that sent back 16 Mean Green attacks.

North Texas was led by three players with double-figure kills, including Brittney Gregory and Anne Pope with a team-high 16 each. Tara Hooser followed with 10 kills on a .250 attack percentage. Heidi Johnson recorded a team-high 47 assists, while freshman libero Jessica Hulsebosch paced the Mean Green defensively with an impressive 30 digs.

For Hulsebosch, it was the second time this season she finished a match with at least 30 digs. She tied the school record for digs in a match with 33 earlier this season and her 30 on Friday ties the second most in school history.

North Texas had a two-match winning streak snapped and fell into a tie for third place in the SBC’s West Division with Denver, which it will face on Sunday in a 1 p.m. match at the Snake Pit.



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