Aug. 29, 2014
ARLINGTON, Texas - UT Arlington opened the 2014 volleyball season with a convincing 25-8, 25-17, 25-18 victory Friday night over Incarnate Word in the College Park Maverick Classic at College Park Center.
The Mavericks (1-0) upped their winning streak in home openers to five in row by beating the Cardinals in the first ever meeting between the programs. UTA has two matches Saturday - Jackson State at 1:30 p.m. and Denver at 7 p.m. - to conclude the Maverick Classic.
"We looked very good," said UT Arlington coach Diane Seymour, who improved to 8-3 in home openers. "It's one of the better opening nights that we've had in a while. We just felt really confident, our play was fast and I think we recovered from any mistake very quickly. I think it's a good sign of things to come."
Senior outside hitter Taylor Gross led the UTA attack with 10 kills while hitting .500. Freshman outside hitter Qiana Canete contributed seven kills and senior middle blocker Ashley Bennett added six kills. Senior setter Amanda Welsh led the Mavs with 19 assists and sophomore setter Cassidy Wheeler had 11.
"We've been here since July all together, so we've been playing each other for a real long time," Bennett said. "We were just excited to see how everyone responded."
The Mavericks dominated as a team, finishing the sweep with an attack percentage of .309 compared to -.009 for UIW. UTA had a 41-25 edge in kills and 11-3 advantage in team blocks.
The Mavericks started fast, jumping out to a 9-4 lead after sophomore middle blocker Briana Sharratt and Canete combined on a block. UIW called timeout after falling behind 12-6, but the stoppage did little to slow UTA's momentum.
The Mavs were up 19-7 when Cardinals coach Jennifer Montoya signaled for another timeout. UTA closed out the set with six consecutive points, the final five coming on senior setter Amanda Welsh's serve.
The Mavericks outhit UIW in the opening set .364 to -.303 and led 10-4 in kills. Senior middle blocker Ashley Bennett and senior outside hitter Taylor Gross each had three kills, with Welsh tallying five assists and sophomore setter Cassidy Wheeler adding four.
The Mavericks didn't trail in the second set, getting out to a 7-2 lead. UTA went up double digits (21-11) on a Baptiste kill that forced another Cardinals' timeout. The Mavs outhit UIW .220 to .071 and led 14-10 in kills.
UTA was down 6-4 in the third set before turning it around. The Mavericks went on a 10-3 run that included two kills by Gross. Junior opposite side Stacey Koch had four kills in the last set to match Gross' total, as the Mavericks hit .382 to UIW's .154.