North Texas came incredibly close to making the NCAA Tournament last season as an at-large team out of Conference USA, but just fell short. This season, they have hopes of breaking through and appearing in the big dance despite the loss of some key players at the top.
One of their top returners to the 2018 squad is Henrianna Ibarra, a 5’8″ libero who was the team’s starter last season as just a freshman. The current sophomore has yet to appear in any match action during 2018, though she was with the team on the sideline against Baylor last night and could be nursing some sort of injury.
A native of San Antonio, Texas, Ibarra led North Texas with 320 digs a season ago over the course of 103 sets and 31 matches. She earned best libero at the Maroon Classic and put together the fourth best freshman season at the school in the rally era for digs and aces (28).
Filling into Ibarra’s spot has been Olivia Petnicki, a junior who transferred in out of Pacific. She has logged 3.80 digs per set, so if the Mean Green could add Ibarra back to the fold, they would have quite the display of back-row defenders.
North Texas, off of a 29-4 (13-1 C-USA) finish to 2017 that included an NIVC Tournament appearance and a split C-USA regular season crown, are currently 3-1 to begin 2018. They won their first three matches of the season against Nicholls State, Northeastern and Kent State without dropping a set before falling at #13 Baylor last night in four sets. That match recap can be seen here.