VB: Mavs Top Troy in Conference Opener

Sept. 22, 2017

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ARLINGTON, Texas – Senior Qiana Canete recorded her eighth double-double of the season to help lead UTA volleyball to a four-set win (25-21, 24-26, 25-15, 25-18) over Troy in the Sun Belt Conference opener for both teams, on Friday night at College Park Center.

UTA (7-7, 1-0 Sun Belt) earned the win in the opener of the league schedule, claiming the first and final two sets of the match to best Troy (5-10, 0-1 Sun Belt). The Mavs won a tight first set and after falling behind midway through the second, fought back to tie the set at 24-24 but fell 26-24. UTA then answered to win 50 of the next 83 points to earn the four-set victory.

The Mavs hit for a .206 percentage with 41 assists and 73 digs in the set, holding Troy to a .127 hitting percentage.

“This was a great team effort,” UTA head coach J.T. Wenger said. “A lot of people contributed in a lot of different ways, which is great to see. Some things that we’ve been working on in practice came to fruition out on the floor, so I’m proud of the effort that went into tonight.”

“It was really exciting, going into conference 1-0,” UTA's Madison McConnell said. “We can fight. When we put our minds to it we can fight. When the adrenaline starts pumping we are ready to go.”

Senior Qiana Canete charted her eighth double-double of the year, totaling 11 kills and 14 digs. Junior Zhanelle Geathers had a match-high 17 kills, with McConnell sporting eight kills on a .438 hitting percentage. Freshman Kailyn Gilbreath had a match-best 35 assists and junior libero Libbie Vickers added 24 digs. Tessa Harfield finished with three kills, with Kylie Jedlicka adding four kills and 10 digs. Senior Ashlynn Ford finished with 12 digs.

“We made a big push back in the second after having been down a few,” Wenger said. “Madison Helt came in and scored a bunch of points. Allie Deese came in and stuffed a ball and that kind of changed the complexion of the match. From that point on we rolled to some extent which was great.”

The Mavs will return to action on Saturday vs. South Alabama at 6:30 p.m. CT at College Park Center. The game will be streamed live on UTAMavs.com. The Jags swept Texas State in San Marcos on Friday night.

“South Alabama’s offensive style is similar to what we saw tonight,” Wenger said. “They are hitting for a little bit of a higher efficiency than Troy has been so we are looking forward to seeing what they can do, what we can do to neutralize them. The game plan has been pieced together and we are looking forward to executing.”

After Troy opened the scoring, Geathers terminated her first kill to get the Mavs on the board. Troy took a 3-2 lead before the Mavs evened it up and started a 6-0 run to force a timeout from the Trojans with UTA owning a 9-3 lead, with the Mavs getting a key block from Geathers and McConnell and an ace from Jedlicka. The teams traded points with the set tied up at 11, 12, 13 and 14 and was able to use a two point run with kills from Geathers and Canete to take a 16-14 lead. After a 2-0 run from Troy, Coach J.T. Wenger used UTA’s first timeout with a 20-19 lead. The Mavs finished off the set with a pair of 2-0 runs to earn a 25-21 result in the first. UTA hit .175 as a team with Geathers owning six kills in the set.

Troy opened the set strong after the Mavs started the scoring, taking a 7-3 lead. UTA used a 2-0 run to cut the lead to 7-5 and the Trojans took a point off a long rally to earn an 8-5 advantage. Troy kept the Mavs just at arm’s length after UTA cut the lead to 11-10. After a 3-0 run saw the Troy lead extended to 18-15, UTA fought back on the strength of a 4-0 run to even up the match at 24-24. Troy then scored the next two to finish off the set, 26-24.

The Trojans opened up the set with a 5-1 lead using a 3-0 and 2-0 run. The Mavs then went on a furious 6-0 run to take a 7-5 lead with Wenger winning a challenge to finish off the run. UTA then used a 2-0 run and a 3-0 run to take a 13-8 advantage at a Troy timeout, with Gilbreath’s service ace forcing the timeout. Canete’s termination gave UTA a 14-10 lead

The Mavs took an early lead to open the set but each team traded a pair of 2-0 runs to take the match to 6-6. UTA answered a third Troy 2-0 run with a 5-0 stretch that included a Canete ace and saw UTA extend its lead to 12-8. The clubs traded points, with UTA taking a 16-11 lead on a Harfield kill. After UTA stretched its lead to 18-12, Troy called for its last timeout. Troy went on a 5-0 run to make it tight at 19-17 but the Mavs finished off the set with five of the final six points for the win.

For up-to-date news, photos, videos and updates you can follow UTA sports program online at UTAMavs.com or via any of several social media accounts on twitter @UTAMavs, Instagram @UTAMavs, Snapchat @UTAMavs and Facebook at UTArlingtonAthletics. Follow @UTAVolleyball on twitter and at UTAVolleyball on Facebook. 




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