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ICYMI: Volleyball struggles to keep up in loss against Rice

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Article Originally Published by Tyler Luker on North Texas Daily

Article Originally Published by Tyler Luker on North Texas Daily

North Texas volleyball suffered their fourth loss in a row, with a sweep coming at the hands of the Rice University Owls Sunday afternoon.

“I think it was just like yesterday,” head coach Andrew Palileo said. “We played well for most of the first set, and again they came back on us.”

With the loss, the Mean Green’s record fell to 7-7 and 0-2 in conference play. After winning the two matchups against North Texas, Rice holds a 7-5 record on the season. The Owls are also receiving votes to be ranked in the top 25 in the AVCA coaches poll.

“Against a team like that, you’ve got to execute,” Palileo said. “We’re just not finding the right plays and the right combination to execute during those times.”

The match shared multiple similarities with the match on Saturday, with North Texas getting off to a hot start in the first set before being overrun by a potent Rice team. The Owls did not hold a single lead in the first set until the final three points, winning the set by a score of 25-22. Rice also went on a 6-0 run to steal the set from the Mean Green.

North Texas struggled to keep up in the second set, only holding a lead when the score was at 2-1 for the Mean Green. They were playing catchup against Rice for the entire set and rallied off six points in a row to tie the score at 18-18 before giving up a 7-0 run to win the second set for the Owls by a margin of 25-18.

The third and final set was more of the same for the Mean Green, with Rice dominating their way to a 25-15 win. One of the major differences between the second and third sets was North Texas’s efficiency. They generated four more attacks and two more kills in the third, but they also had five more errors. Their hitting percentage also crashed down to .107 in the final set after hitting .250 in the second.

“Every time we needed a pass, we didn’t quite get it to the setter, so we became pretty predictable with the ball going to Rhett [Robinson],” Palileo said. “We’ve got to get better at it.”

Freshman setter Katie Butler once again came out to play, tallying 28 of the team’s 29 total assists as well as nabbing 3 kills and 1 block.

“I think Katie [Butler] stepped up by being aggressive at the net and trying to get as many kills as she could,” sophomore outside hitter Truli Levy said.

North Texas will hit the road on Friday to take on the Louisiana Tech University Bulldogs, hoping to get in the win column for conference play.

“We’ve got to continue to work,” Palileo said. “We’ve got to continue to play to our training and trust what we’re doing.”

Image source Mean Green Sports

Source: North Texas Daily

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