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College roundup: Holt, Harper score as UNT tops McNeese

North Texas got a pair of first-half goals from unlikely sources and rode the momentum to a 2-0 win over red-hot McNeese State on Friday night.

The Cowgirls (5-2-0) were off to the best start in program history and rode a five-game win streak into Denton, but the Mean Green (5-2-0) had the answer with physical play and a strong possession game.

UNT goalkeeper Haley Riley, the Conference USA defensive player of the week, looked confident as she and the UNT defense recorded their third straight shutout. North Texas hasn’t allowed a goal in 292:11, dating back to the second half against Virginia Tech on Sept. 1.

“Give McNeese State and their coaching staff credit,” North Texas coach John Hedlund said. “They made it tough to score. We’re happy with the win and look forward to playing another good team on Sunday in Oklahoma.”

Shelly Holt got North Texas on the board in the 16th minute when her cross from the right corner carried over the McNeese State keeper, off the post and into the net. It was the senior’s first career goal in her 63rd game.

With UNT looking content to go into halftime with a 1-0 lead, a seemingly harmless Lynda Hercules worm-burner cross with 25 seconds remaining squeaked through the Cowgirl defense and found the right foot of freshman Allison Harper for her first career goal.

Ouachita Baptist 2, TWU 1

ARKADELPHIA, Ark. — TWU could not hold on to a 1-0 halftime lead as host Ouachita Baptist scored two second-half goals to defeat the Pioneers.

“We didn’t come out ready to play,” TWU coach Babak Abouzar said. “We had some good ideas going toward the goal but did not execute down the stretch in terms of finishing the final pass.”

Freshman Alisa Velasquez scored for the Pioneers midway through the first half. She found the net off a corner kick from Tori Crook. It was Velasquez’s second goal of the season.

“The positive thing is that we scored on another set piece off the corner kick,” Abouzar said. “Tori had a nice corner and Alisa finished it off.”

The Lady Tigers found the back of the net early in the second half to even the score at 1. OBU scored the winner on a penalty kick in the final minutes.

The Pioneers (1-2) now head to Edmond, Okla., to face Central Oklahoma at 1 p.m. Sunday.


TWU drops two matches

GOLDEN, Colo. — TWU came up short in two matches at the Oredigger Volleyball Classic. The Pioneers fell to Grand Valley State 25-13, 25-19, 22-25, 19-25, 15-10 before losing to host Colorado School of Mines 28-26, 25-13, 25-21.

Against Grand Valley State, the Pioneers struggled in the first two sets with 14 unforced errors. TWU regrouped to capture the next two sets to force a fifth set. In the deciding set, Grand Valley State jumped out to a 7-1 lead and held on for a five-point win.

Seniors Chloe’ Tate and Courtnee Davis led the Pioneers on offense with nine kills apiece. Morgan Wilson was the leader on defense with 25 digs.

Against the Orediggers, the Pioneers led 24-20 in the first set but Colorado School of Mines went on an 8-2 run to capture the set. In the second and third sets, TWU struggled and posted hitting percentages of .031 and .029, respectively.

Tate once again led the offense with seven kills, while Wilson posted 11 digs.

Today, the Pioneers will face Western Oregon at 11 a.m. and Fort Lewis at 3:30 p.m.

UNT splits in Boise

BOISE, Idaho — North Texas opened the Boise State tournament with a 25-22, 25-18, 29-27 victory over Sacramento State that took less than an hour and a half.

Leading the way for UNT was sophomore Carnae Dillard, who had 14 kills — her second-highest three-set total this season. Karissa Flack posted five assisted blocks, and Analisse Shannon tied a season high with six digs and added four assisted blocks.

Amy Henard and Shelby Tamura provided their usual services for the Mean Green, with Henard notching 36 assists and Tamura adding 17 digs.

In its second match, North Texas was outplayed by Boise State, which posted a .285 kill percentage in a 25-21, 25-16, 27-29, 25-19 Bronco victory.

The Mean Green never threatened Boise State throughout the first two sets despite a strong showing from Hallie McDonald, who got the start at middle blocker. But North Texas awoke in the third set, receiving clutch kill shots from Flack and Dillard.

The Mean Green rally ended in the fourth set. UNT cut its deficit to three points late in the set, but Boise State finished strong to close the match.

Flack tied a career high with 13 kills and was among four North Texas players to notch double-digit kills. Shannon had five blocks.

The Mean Green will conclude its tournament run at 11 this morning against Idaho.