The Texas State volleyball team will travel to Denton for the North Texas Invitational this weekend with a 5-0 record, its best start since the 2000 season.
Texas State’s first day of competition for the tournament is set for Sept. 6, when it will take on the Northwestern State Lady Demons and Utah Utes. The last time the Bobcats battled the Demons was Nov. 18, 2011. Senior middle blocker Ashlee Hilbun, a sophomore during the season, managed 12 kills, two aces, eight digs and a .429 hitting percentage.
Northwestern State is coming off three consecutive losses in three straight sets to start the season at the Arkansas Invitational.
Utah is 3-0 on the season after going undefeated in the Utah Classic. Junior right-side hitter Shelby Dalton leads the team in kills with 36. The Utes rank third in blocks in the Pacific-12 conference, averaging 3.12 per game. Utah is fifth in the standing in digs, getting 15.08 per game.
“Northwestern is a former Southland Conference opponent to us,” said Coach Karen Chisum. “We know the team pretty well and their style of play. That’s the game we’re going to be most concentrated on after practices on Wednesday. After that opponent, we have Utah, which is going to be the best team we’ve faced this year so far, but we’re going to take it one match at a time.”
After the Sept. 6 matchups, the two remaining opponents for the Bobcats will be Prairie View A&M and North Texas. Texas State ranks first in the conference with 217 kills on the season. Out of all the major statistical categories, with the exception of digs, the Bobcats rank within the top three among Sun Belt Conference teams.
“As of right now, we’re really focusing on our side of the net,” said senior right side hitter Amari Deardorff. “We know we’ve been playing some really good teams, some really scrappy ones, but the team knows if we continue to do what we’re capable of doing, we’ll continue to win games. I’m really proud of the team. Everything’s really clicked when it was suppose to and looking where we envisioned it.”
Prairie View A&M is coming off three consecutive losses from the Texas Southern Tournament, losing in three sets to each team. The Panthers are currently 1-3 for the 2013 season.
Texas State’s previous match against North Texas was Sept. 16, 2011. Deardorff led the team in kills with nine and had 9.5 points in the game. The team committed 17 fewer errors than the Mean Green in the game. North Texas is 2-2 on the season, coming off two previous wins against Albany and UT Arlington.
“When preparing for the tournament, we’re really going to continue to focus on our serving and continue to pursue every ball,” freshman outsider-hitter Shelby Vas Matt said. “Now that we’re 5-0, we want to keep that going.”
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