Rhett Robinson
Manny Flores
North Texas UNT 5-13, 1-1
Tulsa TLS 10-4, 2-0
Set Scores
Team 1 2 3 4 5 F
North Texas UNT 25 24 22 25 9 (2)
Tulsa TLS 20 26 25 11 15 (3)

Game Recap: Women's Volleyball |

Defense Emerges In Five-Set Loss To Tulsa

TULSA - The North Texas volleyball team was outlasted by Tulsa 3-2 (25-20, 24-26, 22-25, 25-11, 15-9) on Wednesday evening at the Reynolds Center. The Mean Green finished with 110 digs, the third-most in a five-set match in program history.

"Our defense played with intensity tonight and really gave the whole team the confidence from the very first set," head coach Andrew Palileo said. "The players have been working hard to improve that part of our game and they saw tonight that we can play at a high level defensively."

UNT's (5-13) work on team defense was showcased in the opening set, tallying 23 digs, holding Tulsa (10-4) to just eight kills and forcing nine Golden Hurricane attack errors.

Freshman Kasey Bortnem led the team with 26 digs, a career high, and is averaging 4.46 digs per set in her first three appearances at libero.

"Kasey has been great coming in and is really playing with confidence" Palileo said. "She's had the opportunity to defend against Rhett and Valerie in practice which has really helped her."

Senior setter Karley York racked up 41 assists and shattered her career-high figure for digs with 25 in the loss.

An 8-1 Mean Green run gave them a double-digit advantage at 17-7, but Tulsa used a 10-3 streak to close the gap to three. However, a pair of Valerian's team-high five kills in the set helped UNT close out the set. Valerian also finished the match with a season-high 22 digs.

After the Mean Green led wire-to-wire in the first set, the second frame saw nine ties and three lead changes, with the last coming as the Golden Hurricane closed the set on a 4-0 run.

Robinson, who committed six errors in the first set, tallied 15 kills in sets two and three on her way to a team-high 22 kills, along with a career-high 16 digs.

"I talked to Rhett about managing the game a little better in those moments that she wants to be aggressive but isn't in a position to do so," Palileo said. "I think she did a much better job after that."

Tulsa mounted an 11-1 run early in the third set and held off a late Mean Green rally, but it was UNT who got out to a hot start in the fourth stanza, scoring 10 of the first 11 points in the set and needing just 11 kills to roll to a set four win to force a decisive fifth set.

"I thought we were outplaying them the whole match and I told them that," Palileo said. "They wanted to reward themselves with the win and get after it."

Despite taking a 5-4 lead in the final set, the Golden Hurricane closed the match on an 11-4 run to seal the win.

North Texas returns to Denton for a four-match homestand, beginning against FIU at 1 p.m. Sunday.

- Yasmin de Lara tallied a career-high three blocks.
- Kylie Brown set a career high with 12 digs.
- In the two sets UNT won, they led wire-to-wire.
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