The Texas State volleyball team endured its first two losses of the season Friday and Saturday to Utah and North Texas at the North Texas Invitational.
The Bobcats entered the invitational with a 5-0 record and moved to 6-0 when they defeated Northwestern State to open the tournament. The six-game winning streak marked the best beginning by a Texas State team since 1982.
The Bobcats beat the Lady Demons 3-1. Senior right-side hitter Amari Deardorff, junior outside-hitter Alexandra Simms and freshman outside-hitter Shelby Vas Matt all scored double-digits in kills. Simms led the category with a season-high 13 kills. The Bobcats committed 28 errors, which was the highest total in a single game for Texas State.
The Bobcats’ next opponent was the Utah Utes, who would go on to win the tournament. Texas State lost to the Utes three sets to one. Junior Chelsey Schofield led Utah with 13 kills and 12 digs. Junior Lea Adolph accounted for 11 digs in the game. Adolph is seventh in Pacific-12 Conference rankings in the category, averaging 3.96 digs per game. The Utes are currently ranked first in the Pac-12 standings. Utah recorded 10 serving aces against the Bobcats.
“Hats off to Utah. They’re a strong team, but we made too many errors in the game,” said Coach Karen Chisum. “This is probably the first match this year we lost the serving-passing battle. They served us off the court. We have to be a tougher serving team and pass the ball a lot better. Overall, we just need to get rid of some of our errors and continue to stay confident.”
Texas State resumed play on Saturday facing Prairie View A&M and North Texas. The Bobcats beat the Panthers in three sets, holding Prairie View to less than 20 points in each set.
Senior middle-blocker Ashlee Hilbun led the team in kills, scoring 10 on 13 shot attempts, ending the game with a .692 hitting percentage. Junior setter Caylin Mahoney accounted for 24 assists in the game.
“We definitely have been doing a lot of good things,” Deardorff said. “Our back row is diving after shots. Our biggest weakness right now is serving. A lot of teams were able to get runs of points on us and knock us out of system. These two things we’re really going to address before conference starts.”
The Bobcats’ final opponent of the tournament was host team North Texas. The Mean Green beat both Northwestern State and Prairie View A&M in three sets but lost to Utah.
During the game between Texas State and North Texas, there was a combined 26 lead changes, with the score being tied 40 times. The Bobcats lost to the Mean Green, 3-1. This match was the closest contested match Texas State has played this season.
Sophomore outside-hitter Carnae Dillard tallied 18 kills, her highest number of kills in a single game during the tournament. The Bobcats’ totaled a .129 hitting percentage, which is their lowest shot percentage of the year.
“Honestly, I was really impressed with how we played,” Hilbun said. “We fought all the way to the end in this game. During the Utah match, we didn’t fight all the way, but during this one, I am really impressed how the team did not give up until the last point. That’s something really good for us, which will help us move on to the next games.”
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