UT Arlington Falls to ORU in Season Opener
Aug. 28, 2009
NORMAL, Ill. - The UT Arlington volleyball program opened its 37th season with a three-set loss against Oral Roberts (1-0) on Friday evening in the first match of the Illinois State Redbird Classic at Redbird Arena. Despite a team-high 13 kills from junior Bianca Sauls, the Mavs (0-1) were defeated 25-16, 25-18, 25-23 in their first match of the regular season.
"I saw some good things and some confidence from our team in our serve receive situation tonight," sixth-year head coach Diane Seymour said. "Bianca, Amanda and Alicia did a tremendous job passing the ball tonight. That is a huge step for us. That was something we really focused on last spring and in the preseason."
The Golden Eagles jumped out with a lead during the first set and led by eight points (16-8) before the Mavericks went on a 5-1 run with kills from three different players and a block assist from Sauls and Eld-hah Kaswatuka. ORU followed with a hitting error that made the score 17-13 before ORU called its first timeout.
The Golden Eagles finished the first set on an 8-3 run to take a 1-0 lead in the match with a 25-16 victory. Sauls provided much of the Mavericks offense in the opening set with seven kills and a .875 hitting percentage. The Mavericks had a .367 hitting percentage, but the Golden Eagles were far superior with a .500 hitting percentage (19 kills-2 errors-34 attacks) and held their own defensively with 15 digs.
"I felt good tonight," Sauls said. "Hopefully tomorrow we will come out with more energy and play a little harder from the start of the match."
UT Arlington took the lead on three separate occasions early in the second set but couldn't hold off the potent Golden Eagles' offense that collected 16 kills. ORU finished the set on a 20-12 run with the help of four UT Arlington errors. The Mavericks hit .026 in the second set with seven kills and six errors with 39 attacks.
Sophomore Christy Driscoll led UT Arlington in the second set with three kills while Sauls recorded five digs and starting libero Alicia Shaffer collected four digs.
Neither team led by more than four points in the third and final set and the Mavs made their biggest run at the end of the set after back-to-back kills from Sauls to tie the score at 23. ORU finished off the match with consecutive kills. The Golden Eagles remained consistent throughout the match and notched 16 kills in the final set.
UT Arlington had its most kills in the final set with 15 kills, but also tallied six errors for a .196 hitting percentage. Shaffer and Aguilera switched positions as Shaffer went to the outside hitters spot and Aguilera became the libero in the final set. Shaffer posted three kills in the third set.
The Mavericks will finish play at the Illinois State Redbird Classic on Saturday with a pair of matches against host-school Illinois State (12:05 p.m.) and Gardner-Webb (5:05 p.m.) at Redbird Arena.