BOWLING GREEN, Kent . ( 11/20/03 ) The North Texas volleyball team (22-13) defeated Arkansas State (21-11) 3-0 (30-23, 30-22, 30-25) Thursday night to advance to the semifinals of the Sun Belt Conference Tournament.
Corina Marginas finished with a match-high 14 kills, while Jill Ruskowski and Kristin Sheppard each posted a double-double to lead the Mean Green.
Ruskowski recorded 11 kills and a match-high 15 digs and Sheppard handed out 42 assists and tallied 11 digs. Ruskowski’s 15 digs gives her a school-record 446 for the season.
North Texas , regionally ranked and the No. 3 seed in the tournament, hit .288 and won all three games by at least five points. No. 6 Arkansas State had two players post 12 kills, but hit just .186.
“We came in with the mindset tonight that we weren’t going to go home,” said North Texas head coach Cassie Headrick. “For the past three years we’ve gone home after the first round, and these girls especially our seniors came out with something to show tonight.”
The Mean Green picked up its first ever Sun Belt Conference Tournament victory by knocking off the Lady Indians for the second time this season. NT has now swept two matches from five Sun Belt Conference teams this year.
North Texas will face a tough challenge in the semifinals, playing host and No. 2 seeded Western Kentucky on its own court. The Hilltoppers defeated No. 7 Middle Tennessee 3-0 in the first round and are 26-6 on the year. The match is set to get under way at 7:30 p.m. Friday. The winner will face the winner of No. 1 New Mexico State and No. 4 Arkansas-Little Rock in the championship match Saturday at 1 p.m.