North Texas Claims Conference USA Co-Championship with Sweep

  0 Wendy Mayer | November 11th, 2017 | College - Women's Indoor, Conference USA, News


  • North Texas def. Middle Tennessee 3-0 (25-11, 25-21, 25-11)
  • North Texas moves to 26-2, 13-1 Conference USA; Middle Tennessee falls to 7-23, 2-12 C-USA
  • Denton, Texas
  • Attendance: 329
  • Box Score 


DENTON, Texas – North Texas left no doubt that it wanted to claim a share of the Conference USA regular season title and earn the league’s No. 1 seed, hitting at an eye-popping .600 clip as a team in a sweep of Middle Tennesse on Saturday.

North Texas entered the week needing to win out against Western Kentucky (RV) and Middle Tennesee to earn a share of the title alongside the Lady Toppers at 13-1. The Mean Green took the first big step by handing WKU its first league loss on Thursday. The Saturday sweep claimed North Texas its first ever regular season crown.

The Mean Green committed just two hitting errors in the match, with freshman outside hitter Valerie Valerian pacing the team with 14 kills on an errorless .609 effort. Senior middle blocker Holly Milam added nine kills and three of the team’s four aces, while freshman outside Barbara Teakell downed eight kills with no errors and a .667 hitting effort. Defensively, Valerian and junior setter Alex Janak pulled up six digs apiece.

North Texas won every statistical category: hitting percentage (.600 to .175), kills (44-32), aces (4-1) and blocks (4-1).

Middle Tennessee got nine kills from sophomore outside Dora Peonia and eight from junior outside Bailey Mason in the loss. Senior libero Sloan Sullivan and sophomore defensive specialist Brienna Tankesley accounted for five digs apiece to lead the backcourt.


Courtesy: North Texas Athletics

The North Texas volleyball team claimed its first-ever regular season conference championship with a 3-0 (25-11, 25-21, 25-11) over Middle Tennessee on Saturday morning. The Mean Green finished with a 13-1 record in Conference USA play.

“It’s a rewarding feeling,” North Texas head coach Andrew Palileo said. “We’ve built this program over the last five years and we’re to the point where we have the talent, depth, and experience at the same time, which we haven’t had before.”

Freshman Valerie Valerian led the team with 14 kills at a .609 clip and recorded a team-high six digs. Senior Holly Milamadded nine kills and paced the squad with three aces. North Texas (26-2, 13-1 C-USA) committed just two errors on 70 attempts for a program-record attack percentage of .600.

“We were getting really good passes up which helps, especially since they were serving us hard,” Valerian said. “Karley was setting me perfectly, so I was able to kill it.”

“Middle Tennessee did a good job of serving us tough,” Palileo said, “but once we started controlling the match, we were able to get into system.”

Valerian posted half of her 14 kills in the first frame, including four to fuel a 10-0 run to extend the Mean Green lead to 18-6. Milam served throughout the run, recording all three of her aces. North Texas clinched the set on the Blue Raiders’ eighth attack error.

“We were excited about what this match meant and we used that as motivation,” Valerian said on the fast start.

Middle Tennessee posed a greater challenge in the second set, getting out to a 13-10 lead on Bailey Mason’s third kill of the frame. The Mean Green would not lead in the game until an Alexis Wright kill gave North Texas a 19-18 advantage. Freshman Barbara Teakell recorded a pair of kills down the stretch, and junior Karley York gave the Mean Green a two-sets-to-one lead with her second kill. North Texas finished the set errorless on 24 attempts for a .708 hit percentage.

“We were all clicking. We had a lot of energy and everyone was executing,” Milam said.

Milam led the team on a similar run from the service line in the final set, scoring seven straight points to go ahead 13-5. Valerian posted three kills in the run to reach double-digit kills for the 12th time this season. The Mean Green displayed their depth and balance with kills from five different players the rest of the way, taking the final set, 25-11.

“We were all just really determined,” Milam said. “We knew what was at stake and we wanted to put it away.”

“We tell those girls on the bench ‘you’re playing against one of the top teams in the conference every day in practice, so your confidence should be high going into the matches’,” Palileo said.


North Texas will be the No. 1 seed at the Conference USA Volleyball tournament, beginning Nov. 17 in Bowling Green, Ky.


• The Mean Green’s .600 hit percentage tops the previous program record set in 2011, when North Texas posted a .527 attack percentage against Texas Southern.
• The win marks the second overall conference title, joining the 1995 squad that won the Southland Conference tournament.

• Amanda Chamberlain passed Jessica Brown for the seventh-most kills in school history (1,006).


Courtesy: Middle Tennessee Athletics

The Middle Tennessee volleyball team wrapped up their season against North Texas in the Mean Green Volleyball Center on Saturday afternoon. The Blue Raiders fell in straight sets to the Mean Green despite their fight in the second frame (25-11, 25-21, 25-11).

Set by Set
Hammill opened the first frame with a service ace over the Mean Green for the Blue Raiders to lead, 1-0. Peonia, York and Mason also recorded kills in the first set but were unable to stop the North Texas offense as they created a 5-1 run over MT to clinch the first set, 25-11.

The Blue Raiders opened the second frame with an aggressive pace with kills from York, Mason, Hammill and Peonia to jump out to an 11-8 lead over the Mean Green. However, North Texas fought back to tie the match at 15-all. Despite the fight from the Blue Raiders, the Mean Green grabbed the second frame, 25-21.

The North Texas offense did not back down to take the third an final set, 25-11, to clinch the match in straight sets.

Junior Makila York (10) and sophomore Dora Peoina (9) paced the Blue Raider attack to ink a combined 19 kills on the afternoon. Peonia also picked up four digs and an assist during her three set outing.

Likewise, junior outside hitter Bailey Mason produced an effective attack for the Blue Raiders recording 8 kills over North Texas.

From the back row, sophomore libero Brienna Tankesley and senior Sloan Sullivan recorded five digs apiece. Similarly, redshirt-sophomore Alyssa Mathis also picked up four digs while sophomore setter Taylor Hammill recorded two digs.

Quotable: Head Coach Chuck Crawford Reflects on the Season
“Culture wise, I do believe that our culture changed this year and that was one of my main goals coming in as the head coach this season. From an outsider perspective, if you’re not with our team on a day-to-day basis you wouldn’t see how close knit this group is together. They genuinely love and support each other and that makes me more proud than anything else. As far as the impact that culture had on individual players—on the fight and the grit that we are trying to instill—Dora is probably the prime example of the culture shift coming from having only six service aces to now having 44 aces this season. Beyond her success from the service line, her defense and the mentality she has now for the game far surpasses anything from last season. With her talent and us pushing her in ways she didn’t know was possible, Dora is starting to realize in herself that she can be a great player”.  – Head Coach Chuck Crawford

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About Wendy Mayer

Wendy Mayer

Wendy Mayer has worked in athletics media relations for the last 20 years. The Northwest Missouri State alumna is currently senior writer for after spending the last 15 years with Purdue athletics.

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