The North Texas volleyball team will enter the closing stretch of the regular season on a run that includes wins in five of its last six matches.

UNT will host Tarleton State on Thursday on senior night. The Mean Green will then face UTEP in El Paso on Saturday and Sunday in their final matches before the Conference USA tournament.

Rhett Robinson mug

Rhett Robinson

Outside hitter Rhett Robinson has led UNT’s late-season charge that has the Mean Green (14-9) sitting at 7-3 in Conference USA play heading into the week.

Robinson was named the American Volleyball Coaches Association’s National Player of the Week last week for her performance in a pair of wins over UAB. The Krum native posted 45 kills against UAB and was also named C-USA’s Offensive Player of the Week.

“I’m really excited for Rhett,” UNT coach Andrew Palileo said in the school’s statement announcing Robinson’s honor. “There’s a lot of competition and a lot of players deserve this award each week. She had a great week, leading our team. I’m proud of the work she’s put in and the energy she’s provided for our team.”

Robinson posted 22 kills in Friday’s match and came back to record 23 kills on Saturday. She leads C-USA with an average of 5.13 kills per set and has 308 kills on the season.

UNT enters the week sitting second in C-USA’s West Division behind Rice. The Owls are 8-0 in league play.

Soccer UNT to face rival Rice at home

UNT hoped its match against Rice to close out the regular season would decide the C-USA West Division title.

That will be the case. UNT just isn’t in the mix this time around heading into the final week of the regular season.

The Mean Green will host the Owls at 7 p.m. Thursday.

UNT (8-4-3) is sitting in a tie for fourth place with UAB in the division with 10 points. Southern Miss leads the division with 14 points. Rice is sitting in second with 12 points, just head of UTSA, which has 11 points.

Rice needs to beat UNT and have Southern Miss fall to UTSA at home to jump past the Golden Eagles.

UNT clinched a spot in the conference tournament with a 2-1 win over Louisiana Tech last week. Allie Byrd and Madi Drenowatz scored goals to lift UNT to the win.

“LA Tech is as good if not better than any team we have played in conference this fall,” UNT coach John Hedlund said after the match. “I’m very proud of my players as well — we were down a goal at halftime, and we changed a few things up, and my team really responded with a great second-half performance to get the 2-1 win.”

BRETT VITO can be reached at 940-566-6870 and via Twitter at @brettvito.

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