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ARLINGTON, Texas -- UTA volleyball puts its unbeaten record on the line with a three-game road trip to the Bruiser Showcase, hosted by Belmont in Nashville, Tenn. UTA will face Belmont on Friday at 11:30 a.m. CT and Middle Tennessee at 3 p.m. UTA will conclude the weekend with a Saturday match vs. Idaho State at 11 a.m. at the Curb Event Center.
UTA (3-0) cruised to the title of the 2017 UTA Invitational Tournament last weekend, posting three-set sweeps over Southern and McNeese, before earning a hard-fought win over Houston in five sets. The Mavs hit for a .224 percentage and averaged 13.1 kills per set over opening weekend, with 12.4 assists and 1.45 service aces per set. UTA had 15.7 digs per set and 1.36 blocks per set.
Senior Qiana Canete, a preseason All-Sun Belt Conference selection, led the Mavs in a well-rounded performance last weekend. She had 38 kills and six assists, adding 41 digs. Junior Zhanelle Geathers has a team-leading 40 kills and 29 digs, with double-doubles in both the wins over McNeesee and Houston. Sophomore setter Haley Higgins has a team-high 71 assists, with freshman setter Kailyn Gilbreath adding 47 assists. Sophomores Madison McConnell and Kylie Jedlicka have given the Mavs some attacking punch, with McConnell owning 23 kills and six blocks and Jedlicka sporting 20 kills and seven blocks.
Belmont (3-1) opened its season with wins over Elon, Charlotte and Southern Utah before suffering a loss vs. Wichita State. The Bruins took Charlotte to five sets in the win. Arianna Person leads the team with 44 kills, adding 29 digs, with Alexa Nichols hitting a team-high .282 with 37 kills and six digs. Emily Richards (45) and Ellie Ivancich (45) lead the team in digs.
MTSU (0-4) is seeking its first win of the year after suffering three-set sweeps vs. UMKC, No. 19 Missouri, No. 24 Arizona and Northern Iowa. MTSU is hitting .041 as a team with 8.25 kills per set, adding nine digs per set and 1.25 blocks per set.
Idaho State (1-2) is coming off a four-set win over South Dakota State in its last match. The Vandals also took Virginia Tech and Milwaukee to five sets in losses. Chloe Hirst has a team-high 50 kills, with Ashlyn Van Every sporting a team-high 84 assists. Haylie Keck has a club-high 39 digs, with Brooke Pehrson contributing 10 service aces.
The Mavs lost the only meeting in the series with Belmont, a four-setter at Middle Tennessee State in 2007. UTA is 3-0 all-time vs. Idaho State, including a win in the last meeting in 2001. MTSU has won both meetings, including in 2008 in Arlington.
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