Sept. 20, 2017
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ARLINGTON, Texas -- The UTA volleyball team will kick off its Sun Belt Conference regular-season schedule with a pair of home matches at College Park Center over the weekend, hosting Troy on Friday at 6:30 p.m. CT and South Alabama on Saturday at 6:30 p.m. Both games will be streamed live on UTAMavs.com, with Reggie Adetula voicing the action.
UTA (6-7) enters the conference lidlifter coming off a 1-3 weekend in the Maverick Classic to conclude non-league action. The Mavs have wins over Southern, McNeese, Houston, Middle Tennessee State, Idaho State and Lamar to open the year.
As a team, the Mavs are hitting for a .195 attacking percentage with 12 kills per set, 1.1 service aces per set and 14 digs per set. UTA has battled through the injury bug in 2017, including losing its season-opening starter at libero and missing a key hitter due to mononucleosis.
The Mavs have been led in kills in 2017 by junior Zhanelle Geathers, who has averaged 3.52 kills per set to rank fourth in the Sun Belt, also charting 1.41 digs per set with a career-high 65 digs. Senior Qiana Canete ranks fifth in the Sun Belt with 3.43 terminations per set, totaling 2.89 digs per set. Sophomore Madison McConnell paces the team with a .341 attacking percentage, owning 1.83 kills per set. Freshman setter Kailyn Gilbreath has charted a team-leading 8.78 assists per set, adding 1.83 digs per game, while sophomore Kylie Jedlicka owns 1.66 kills and 2.29 digs per set. Sophomore libero Madelyn St. Germain leads the team with 3.48 digs per set but after injury, junior Libbie Vickers has moved into the libero post to average 2.97 digs per set on the year. McConnell leads the team with 0.57 blocks per set, with freshman Tessa Harfield charting 0.49 blocks per set.
Troy (5-9) is coming off a weekend in Tuscaloosa, Ala., winning a three-set sweep over Southern but falling in three sets to both Murray and host Alabama. The Trojans have wins over Winthrop, Jackson State and UAB, in addition to a sweep over South Carolina State. Troy has faced one common opponent with UTA, falling in four sets vs. Middle Tennessee, also on a neutral court.
The Trojans have hit for a .170 percentage in 2017 as a team, with a .358 assist percentage, a .852 serve percentage and 11.9 digs per set. Troy has been led in kills by Lauren Long, who has 2.61 kills per set, with Terry Reina leading the team with 5.64 assists per set and Bethany Cullity owning 3.26 digs per set.
South Alabama (5-5) is coming off a weekend split in two matches at Ole Miss in Oxford, Miss., with the Jaguars also owning wins over McNeese State, Southern Miss, Alabama State and a three-set sweep over Clemson. South Alabama has suffered losses at Tulane (twice), Alabama, Auburn and Ole Miss, playing a challenging early season schedule. South Alabama is hitting for a .175 percentage with 10.7 kills per set, averaging 9.8 assists per set with a .308 assist percentage, owning a .922 serve percentage and 13.9 digs per set.
The Jaguars have been paced in kills by Iva Durdanovic, who has 2.54 kills per set. Ashlyn Roberts is leading the team with 4.24 assists per set and Abby Baker has a team-high 4.18 digs per set. Overall, three Jags have at least two assists per set and three have at least three assists per set.
UTA leads the all-time series with Troy, 6-1, including a perfect 3-0 mark in games played at home. The Mavs have won five straight in the series, including a three-set sweep in the lone meeting in 2016 in Troy. The Mavs also lead the series with South Alabama, 7-1, including a 5-0 record in games played in Arlington. UTA has won five straight in the series, including a four-set win over the Jaguars in 2016 in Mobile, Ala.
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