Volleyball Team Undefeated, Ranked In U.S. Top 20
Comets Haven't Slowed Down Since Opening Season with Four-Game Sweep
Sept. 25, 2009
For the first time in program history, the UT Dallas women’s volleyball team is garnering national recognition. The Comets, who are off to a perfect 8-0 start, are ranked 14th in the American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) national Top 25 poll.
The defending American Southwest Conference champions are the early leaders as well in the ASC East Division race, with a 3-0 record. They soundly defeated longtime rival East Texas Baptist University in a three-game match last Friday night — 25-12, 25-16 and 25-16. UT Dallas and East Texas Baptist have shared two of the last three ASC East divisional titles.
UT Dallas broke into the AVCA national poll three weeks ago after opening the season with a four-game sweep at Trinity University’s River City Classic in San Antonio. During the tournament, the Comets defeated host Trinity and Cal Lutheran Universities, both nationally ranked teams. UT Dallas has climbed from 19th to 16th to 14th in the first three weekly polls and is the only undefeated team in the Top 25 other than No. 1 Wisconsin-Oshkosh, which is 14-0.
Coach Marci Sanders, who began the UT Dallas program just six years ago, has a talented team that features both veteran and freshman talent. The team is led up front by senior Kyleigh Irish, a three-time all-conference performer, and junior Jessica Nassau, who is having her best season. The duo is averaging over seven kills per game. Junior setter Niki Calverley has already set school records in assists. Three freshmen – Dana Hilzendager, Halea Williams and Melanie Power – have also taken over starting positions with the squad.
The Comets just completed a four-game home stand, which saw crowds of 300 or more at each match. UT Dallas must play the next four weekends on the road throughout the ASC, but returns home on Friday and Saturday, Oct. 30-31, for the team’s final two regular-season games. If UT Dallas is able to continue its lead in the ASC East Division race, the Comets will earn the right to host the ASC Championship Tournament on Nov. 6-7.
Members of the UT Dallas volleyball team celebrate a score during a recent match. More information about team members and their season is available on the Comet Sports Web site.