V-Ball Spikes Conference Record to 9-2
Reprinted with permission from the UTD Mercury
Written by Zach Hurdle, UTD Mercury
The UTD volleyball team defeated conference rivals UT-Tyler and the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor (UMHB) for the second time this season, shutting both teams out 3-0, to improve to 9-2 within the American Southwest Conference (ASC).
The Comets bested UMHB Oct. 2, winning a close first game 30-28 and using good defense to take the next two 30-20 and 30-17.
UTD had three players in double-digits for kills, including undeclared freshman Stephanie Waller with 16. The Comets also had 103 defensive digs in only a three-game match, while holding UMHB to 31 kills, down from 48 in their previous meeting.
UTD faced UT-Tyler Oct. 4 in another ASC rematch. This time around, the Comets held UT-Tyler to only 28 kills and committed only eight errors, while chemistry freshman Amber Wetz had a breakout game with 17 kills.
The Comets decisively beat UT-Tyler in three games, 30-21, 30-18 and 30-19 to improve to 15-4 overall on the season. It was also the 10th time UTD shut an opponent out this season.
The two rival shutouts came after UTD went 3-1 at the first of two ASC Crossover Tournaments Sept. 28-29 where UTD, an East Division school, faced off against four West Division opponents.
"Playing well against the West is very important," Head Coach Marci Sanders said. "Last year, we swept the West, and despite losing two to ETBU (East Texas Baptist University), we still made co-champs."
Howard Payne University was the first of the four matchups, and UTD shut them out in three games as well, with a dominating 30-9 win in game three.
The Comets had a .222 hitting percentage for the match while Howard Payne only hit .035 percent.
The Comets' next opponent was Schreiner University, another opponent that hit under .100. Schreiner did stretch the match to four games and prevented the shutout by winning game one 30-23. UTD then won three in a row 30-13, 30-24, and 30-15. Wetz and business sophomore Kyleigh Irish combined for 31 kills in the match.
UTD's third match was against Texas Lutheran University (TLU). Texas Lutheran was the only UTD opponent at the ASC Crossover Tournament to have a winning record at 9-4, and 6-2 within the conference. They were also the only West team the Comets faced that hit above .100 in their match.
The Comets had four players with kills in double-figures, but Texas Lutheran's Jamie Jahns had 22 by herself. Texas Lutheran won the kill battle 61-57. UTD committed 24 errors in the match, which turned out to be the equivalent of one game against Texas Lutheran.
Chemistry sophomore Kat Adams had 30 defensive digs, but it wasn't enough to hold on to the Comets' 2-1 game lead as Texas Lutheran won game four 30-21 and took the tie-breaking game five 15-10, including a 10-2 TLU run. TLU handed the Comets their second conference loss of the season.
"Anytime there's a 10-2 run, they're doing something well and we're just not," Sanders said.
The final contest of the ASC Crossover Tournament was Sul Ross State, who came into the game with just a 2-11 overall record.
Waller and mathematics junior Krissy Seaman combined for 22 kills in the match as UTD ousted Sul Ross in three games, 30-22, 30-15 and 30-21.
The Comets don't have another home game until Oct. 23 when they play LeTourneau University in a rematch from earlier this season. UTD beat LeTourneau 3-0 at the end of September.
Sanders said the team is playing well and full of confidence.
"But unfortunately, we're starting games slowly, like the mindset is it's not important until it's important," Sander said.