Sept. 6, 2017
ARLINGTON, Texas -- Winners of five of its first six matches, UTA volleyball will hit the road for a three-game tournament on the campus of New Mexico, facing off with the host Lobos, Northern Colorado and Portland during the two-day event. UTA opens the tournament on Friday at 1:15 p.m. CT vs. New Mexico, faces Northern Colorado at 6:15 p.m. on Friday and will conclude the weekend vs. Portland at 12:45 p.m. on Saturday.
UTA (5-1) has opened the season with five wins in six tries with the lone setback coming in the tournament opener last weekend at Belmont, a five-set setback. The Mavs eventually won the Belmont Tournament to give them two straight tournament titles to open the year, after going 3-0 in the UTA Invitational on opening weekend. The Mavs have won two straight matches by sweeps and have a 17-5 record in sets.
LEADING THE MAVS
The Mavs are led by a pair of preseason All-Sun Belt Conference selections in 2017, including senior Qiana Canete and junior Zhanelle Geathers. Canete has totaled 3.09 kills and has 3.18 digs per set. Geathers sports four kills per set, a .276 attacking percentage, and 40 digs. Freshman setter Kailyn Gilbreath leads the Mavs with 8.65 assists per set, adding 15 kills and 28 digs, with sophomore Madelyn St. Germain owning a team-high 73 digs. Sophomore Madison McConnell is hitting .425 to lead the team with 40 kills, with sophomore Kylie Jedlicka adding 35 kills and 51 digs. Freshman Cameryn Zahradnik has 12 kills and 15 digs, with freshman Tessa Harfield adding 18 kills and 12 blocks.
SCOUTING THE FOES
New Mexico (4-2) has wins over Omaha, Kent State, Youngstown State and UTEP to open the year, suffering loses at Iowa State and vs. North Dakota. The Lobos have hit .229 as a team with 13.22 kills per set, adding 16.28 digs per set and 32 total blocks. Lauren Twitty (3.47 kills per set), Carson Heilborn (10.33 assists per set) and Ashley Kelsey (5.22) are pacing the Lobos statistically.
Northern Colorado (2-4) is coming off a win over Florida A&M its last time out.
Portland (5-1) opened the year with five wins before suffering a four-set loss vs. Oregon State last weekend. The Pilots have wins over Abilene Christian, South Dakota, Wyoming, Fresno State and Alabama State. The Pilots have hit .225 as a team with 14.23 kills per set, adding 15.09 digs per set and 34 total blocks. Cali Thompson (11.18 assists per set), Reghan Pukis (4.36) and Carey Williams (4.32) lead Portland statistically.
New Mexico leads the series with UTA, 4-3 and have won the last three meetings. This will mark the first meeting in Albuquerque in the series with UNM winning last year in four sets in Arlington. UTA will be meeting Northern Colorado for the third time, splitting a pair of previous meetings in neutral site tournaments. Northern Colorado won the last meeting, in three sets in Laramie, Wyo. The Mavs have faced Portland in 2010, a four-set loss in Laramie
FOLLOW THE MAVS SOCIALLY
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.