DENTON – For the 11th
-straight time, the North Texas volleyball team was victorious against Louisiana Tech, sweeping the Lady Techsters 3-0 (25-20, 25-21, 25-18). Senior setter Karley York
finished with 47 assists and passed Daniella Grimaldo for the fifth-most assists in program history (3,283).
"It's a great accomplishment," York said. "I couldn't have done it without my teammates. It's great to see hard work paying off throughout the year."
"Her career continues to get better and better," head coach Andrew Palileo
said. "She's doing a great job of leading the team. She's got a few more matches to build on it and lead this team to another championship."
Sophomore Valerie Valerian
led the team in kills and digs with 13 of each. Fellow sophomore Barbara Teakell
and freshman Rhett Robinson
joined Valerian in double-digits with 12 kills apiece. Sarah Haeussler
and Jordyn Williams
tied for the team lead with three blocks each.
The Mean Green (8-14, 4-2 C-USA) offense was firing on all cylinders from the first serve with 17 kills and no errors on their first 32 swings. York, who came into the match averaging just under 10 assists per set, tallied 19 in the opening frame and helped North Texas hit .381 as a squad.
"Having Barb back allowed us to have more of a spread offense," York said. "We knew offense wouldn't be our problem this year, so when we get rolling, we get rolling."
"We've been working on a couple different offenses and different plays and it was nice to see that executed in a game and executed efficiently," Valerian said. "It also comes from a great pass too, so we worked on better passing so we could set up that good offense."
The defense matched the offensive's success, averaging 20.5 digs per set through the first two sets, led by freshman setter Kylie Brown's
"Kylie did a good job of coming in tonight and getting some of the cross-court digs we needed and put it in good position for Karley," Palileo said. "We needed her to do that."
The sophomore outside hitter duo of Valerian and Teakell combined for eight of the team's 15 kills in the second set. Teakell's third kill sparked a 5-1 run that vaulted the Mean Green to a 17-12 advantage, and Robinson sealed the set with her eighth kill.
"We're trying to regain that chemistry with Barb back," Palileo said. "I thought the weeks we were without her, we built good chemistry with that lineup. Now we've had three high-leverage matches with her back in. She's getting more comfortable, but she needs to get her legs under her a little more."
Robinson redeemed herself for four second-set attack errors with a pair of kills and a block early in the final set to help North Texas jump out to a 10-4 advantage. After LA Tech (6-15, 1-5 C-USA) battled back to tie it at 16-16, the Mean Green closed the match on a 9-2 run, led by pair of kills each from Teakell and Valerian.
The sweep was a confidence boost for UNT heading into a road showdown with Rice, who's perched atop the league at 6-0, but there's still improvements to be made before Sunday.
"It only fuels our fire," Valerian said. "We're ready to play on Sunday."
"We played well enough to beat LA Tech tonight with some good offense and timely digs," Palileo said. "We'll have to play better defense Sunday."
North Texas takes on Rice, the Conference USA leader at 6-0, at 1 p.m. Sunday at the Tudor Fieldhouse in Houston.
- York's 47 assists were one shy of her career high in a three-set match (48).
- Robinson was errorless on seven attack attempts in the first set with six kills (.857).
- Kylie Brown
is averaging a team-high 0.38 assists per set in C-USA play.
- Valerian's double-double was her 10th
of the season and eighth in the last nine matches.