Aug 30, 2013
By Taylor Wright | UTAMavs.com
ARLINGTON, Texas – The UT Arlington Mavericks opened the 2013 season with a 3-2 victory Friday night over Abilene Christian University at College Park Center to improve to 1-0 on the year.
"All we needed to do tonight was understand that Abilene Christian was riding a big high and all we had to do was settle in," UT Arlington coach Diane Seymour said. "We just had to stay confident the whole time in our ability to finish this match off."
Top performers for the Mavs in the victory were Shelby Dickson, Charmaine Whitmore, and Caitlyn Cooney. Dickson was one kill away from a double-double as she totaled nine kills and 16 digs. Whitmore led the Mavs in kills with 11, Dickson's nine was second on the team, and blocks with six total. Cooney led the defense with 29 digs from the libero position for all five sets. Once again, Dickson's 16 digs were good for second on the team.
The Mavs and Wildcats exchanged points early on in the first set with neither team gaining a solid lead within the first 10 points. Seymour was forced to call a timeout after ACU gained a three point lead, 12-9. Smart shots from the Wildcats helped extend their lead to four, 16-12, before a kill from Hannah Baptiste would swing the momentum back in the Mavs' favor.
Back-to-back Wildcat errors gave the Mavs a one point lead at 19-18 and forced an ACU timeout. Dickson rattled a kill through the block to pull UTA within three points of claiming set one, 22-20. Another Dickson kill caused ACU to call their final timeout of the set at 23-20. Whitmore and Taylor Gross sealed the net and the first-set victory for UTA on a block, 25-20.
The Wildcats came out firing in set two and jumped to an early 4-1 lead. Unforced Maverick errors forced a timeout at 9-3 in favor of ACU. Another block from Whitmore, this time with Stacey Koch, tied the second set 11-11. Solid blocking and well-timed kills from ACU pushed their lead to ten, 22-12. The deficit was too much for the Mavs to overcome as they fell in set two, 25-15.
Set three began much like the first set with both teams exchanging points, unable to claim a definitive lead. However, ACU found their rhythm from the second set and quickly gained a six point lead, 11-5. A pair of Maverick errors pushed the Wildcat lead to eight at 20-12. A kill from Dickson held off set point for ACU but another UTA error would close the set, 25-17.
Amanda Welsh got the Mavs on the board in a must-win set four with a setter dump to tie ACU, 1-1. Back-to-back quick plays at the net by Ashley Bennett gave UTA a lead for the first time in the set, 7-6. A kill from Koch extended the lead to four at 10-6. Another kill from Koch forced the Wildcats into a timeout down seven, 14-7. The Mavericks held off ACU to force a deciding set five with a 25-16 win in the fourth set.
Whitmore started off the fifth set, only played to 15 points, with a block, 1-0. The Wildcat block responded with a few of their own to take a 5-4 lead before Gross snuck one through to tie the set. Dickson tapped a kill down the line pushed ACU into a timeout down three, 9-6. Whitmore's hot play continued as she tipped a kill on the Wildcat half of the court and followed that up with a block with Gross to force match point for UTA. The Mavs won the set and match on an ACU error, 15-10.
In other action at the 2013 UTA Hilton Invitational, Louisiana Tech swept Grambling State (25-15, 25-18, 25-9). Outside hitter Rebecca Redgen led the offense for the Lady Techsters with nine kills in 18 attempts for a .500 attack percentage. Louisiana Tech improves to 1-0 on the season while Grambling State falls to 0-2.
The Mavs will conclude the 2013 UTA Hilton Invitational Saturday with a 1:30 p.m. match against Grambling State before taking on former Western Athletic Conference rival Louisiana Tech at 7 p.m. For in-match updates, follow the Mavericks on Twitter (@UTAMavs).