UNT falls to WKU in C-USA quarterfinal

HATTIESBURG, Miss. — The North Texas volleyball team fell to No. 19 Western Kentucky 0-3 (23-25, 17-25, 25-27) on Thursday in the quarterfinal round of the 2020 Conference USA Volleyball Championship.

The Mean Green finished the rollercoaster 2020-21 season with an 11-11 overall record. Although North Texas’ season came to an end, head coach Andrew Palileo was proud of the fight that the Mean Green showed all season.

”You can’t say we didn’t fight,” Palileo said. “Everybody went through it, but the entire season was a grind. We grinded this year out. When we didn’t start out great and had to win the last four C-USA matches, we did. I’m just proud of the girls for fighting through adversity all season.”

That fight showed in a tough loss to the undefeated Hilltoppers (19-0) at the USM Wellness Center. The Mean Green were down 10-20 in the third set before going on a 11-2 run to close the gap to one point. Valerie Valerian and Sarah Haeussler combined for a block to tie the match at 24 apiece before WKU won the third set 27-25 to end the match.

Barbara Martin and Rhett Robinson both finished the match with a team-high 15 kills. Martin also collected a team-high 14 digs in the final match of her Mean Green career. In the first set alone, the senior was on fire, collecting nine kills and a .632 hitting percentage.

Sarah Haeussler led UNT in blocks with four, while Valerie Valerian wrapped up her North Texas career with nine kills and 11 digs. Kaliegh Skopal finished with 36 assists.

During the first set, North Texas jumped on the Hilltoppers early. Skopal’s ace put the Mean Green ahead 11-7. Both teams battled back-and-forth until two consecutive blocks from the Hilltoppers allowed them to separate and win a hard-fought first set 25-23.

North Texas volleyball will return to action in fall 2021, with a schedule to be released in summer 2021.

— From UNT sports information

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