VB: Mavs end fantastic first season in Sun Belt
Nov. 27, 2013
By Taylor Wright | UTAMavs.com
ARLINGTON, Texas – UT Arlington volleyball ended the 2013 campaign with a 19-15 overall record, while earning a 10-8 mark in Sun Belt Conference play.
The Mavericks hadn't won at least 19 matches in a season since finishing 19-11 in 2007.
"The season was a success," UT Arlington coach Diane Seymour said. "I do wish we would've won a few more matches, but the turnaround and growth from a year ago was great. We are definitely headed in the right direction by establishing ourselves as one of the top teams in the conference."
The Mavericks bettered their preseason pick of sixth in the SBC and earned the fourth seed going into the championship tournament. UTA swept South Alabama in the opening round before defeating tournament host Troy in a five-set thriller in the semifinal match.
UT Arlington was named the SBC Volleyball Championship tournament runner-up after Texas State defeated the Mavs in straight sets to end the season. Senior middle blocker Charmaine Whitmore and junior outside hitter Taylor Gross were both named to the All-Tournament team.
Whitmore and Gross, along with senior outside hitter Shelby Dickson, junior setter Amanda Welsh and sophomore defensive specialist Caitlyn Cooney all started the season by being named to various all-tournament teams. All five Mavericks led the team in various statistical categories throughout the season.
Whitmore earned Sept. 8 SBC Defensive Player of the Week honors as well as being named the Baylor Classic Defensive MVP and to the Black and Gold Challenge All-Tournament team. She led the team, conference and nation with 1.81 blocks per set, 225 total blocks. Whitmore recorded four double-doubles this year in kills and total blocks.
Her blocking effort not only earned national recognition, but Whitmore moved into first for block assists (202) and second for total blocks in a single-season in the UTA record book. Her double-double matches were the first in Seymour's 10 seasons as head coach earned with total blocks.
Cooney, Oct. 28 SBC Defensive Player of the Week as well as UTA Hilton Invitational MVP and All-Tournament team, was first on the team and fifth in the conference with 583 digs, averaging 4.45 per set. Welsh, UTA Hilton All-Tournament team, led the Mavs in assists (752, 5.7/set) and aces (24, 0.18/set) this season. She also notched six double-doubles this year in digs and assists.
Dickson, Hilton Maverick Classic and Black and Gold Challenge All-Tournament team, recorded a team-high 14 double-double performances in digs and kills. She led UTA for the year with 339 kills, averaging 2.61 per set as well as being second on the team and 10th in the conference with 402 digs, averaging 3.09 per set.
Gross, Baylor Classic and UTA Hilton Invitational All-Tournament team, finished the year first on the team and eighth in the conference with a .290 attack percentage. She was also second on the team and fourth in the Sun Belt with 148 total blocks, averaging 1.12 per set. Gross is now third for block assists (144) and seventh for total blocks in a single-season in UT Arlington's volleyball record book.
Along with seniors Dickson and Whitmore, the Mavericks will say goodbye to senior defensive specialist Megan Casey. She finished the year third in digs (339, 2.57/set) and fourth in aces with 15, averaging 0.11 per set.
UT Arlington will get back to work this spring to prepare for its second season in the Sun Belt Conference in 2014.