DENTON (11/21/02) - After rolling off a school-record eight consecutive victories, the North Texas volleyball team (15-14, 9-3) suffered its second consecutive loss Friday with a 3-1 (30-24, 24-30, 20-30, 31-33) setback against Denver in a Sun Belt Conference match.
For the second straight match, the Mean Green won the first game only to see the next three go in favor of its opponent. North Texas had four players record double-figure kills and finished with 20 more kills than the Pioneers, but Denver punished the Mean Green with 20 blocks and had 23 fewer attack errors.
The Mean Green suffered another blow in the third game when Corina Marginas, the school’s all-time kill leader, suffered an ankle injury after smashing a kill to tie the score 2-2. After slowly pulling ahead of North Texas 18-13, the Pioneers went on a 5-0 run to open up a commanding 10-point lead and eventually won the game 30-20.
"I think it was a shock to our players at first (when Corina Marginas suffered her injury)," said North Texas head coach Cassie Headrick. "Corina has a big impact on our team and I think our players feel more secure when they look around and see her out there. We didn’t adjust very fast after Corina’s injury, but we aren’t a one-person team. We need to refocus, continue to prepare for each match and play as a team."
North Texas hit .222 in the first game, its highest single-game percentage of the night, while Denver posted its worst attack percentage at .000. However, Denver hit at least .256 in the second and third games and finished with a .186 hitting percentage in comparison to North Texas’ .142.
With Marginas out, Jill Ruskowski really picked up her game. She hammered seven of her match-high 19 kills in the fourth game and picked up six of her match-high 18 digs. Tanya Samples accounted for both of her blocks in the final game and Kristin Sheppard stepped up in the final game as well with four kills, 13 assists and six digs. Sheppard finished with a match-high 53 assists and 10 digs for her 11th double-double of the season.
Also finishing with double-figure kills were Brittney Gregory with 15, Marginas with 12 and Samples with 11. Amanda Schrader and Andrea Hansel played well defensively for North Texas with 14 digs each.
North Texas will host New Mexico State on Sunday at the Snake Pit in a 2 p.m. match.