STARKVILLE, Miss. -- North Texas won both of its Maroon Classic matches Friday. The Mean Green had some speed bumps in a four-set victory over Southeastern Louisiana before cruising to a straight-set victory over host Mississippi State.
North Texas battled in a 25-14, 25-20, 23-25, 25-18 win over Southeastern Louisiana. Senior middle back Holly Milam and freshman outside hitter Valerie Valerian led the Mean Green with 12 kills apiece.
After falling behind 2-1 to start the final set, the Mean Green responded with seven straight points on five Southeastern attack errors and a kill and ace for Milam. With North Texas ahead 12-5, Valerian posted four of the team's five kills to extend the lead to 19-10. Fellow freshman Barbara Teakell was responsible for the Mean Green's final three kills to set up and seal match point.
Against Mississippi State, North Texas received breakout performances on both sides of play in a 25-19, 25-13, 25-19 win. Senior outside hitter Alexis Wright posted a team-high 13 kills, while freshman libero Henrianna Ibarra registered 20 digs, good for a career high and season high for the team.
"It was good for the team to come out as a whole and know we need to prove ourselves and show that we're the best team in this tournament," Wright said.
With the final set tied at 5, the Mean Green went on a 7-1 run thanks to four Bulldog errors. After North Texas allowed Mississippi State to pull within three at 21-18, the Mean Green recorded four straight points to close out the match, including back-to-back kills by Wright to set up and seal match point.
North Texas wraps up Maroon Classic play against Jackson State at 9 a.m. Saturday.