RUSTON, La.-- The North Texas volleyball team set a program record with its 12th straight win, defeating Louisiana Tech, 3-0 (25-21, 25-19, 25-21), on Sunday afternoon. With an 11-1 record in Conference USA, the Mean Green clinched at least the second seed in the conference tournament.
"We've talked all season about opportunities this season," UNT head coach Andrew Palileo said, "and one of those was putting ourselves in a position to win the regular season championship. Now we'll have a chance to do that Thursday."
The Mean Green host No. 25 Western Kentucky, the six-time defending C-USA regular season champion, on Thursday. The Hilltoppers sit atop the league standings with a perfect 13-0 record. UNT can clinch the regular season crown with a win over WKU and Middle Tennessee on Saturday.
Senior middle blocker Amanda Chamberlain led the team with 18 kills at a .577 clip and recorded a pair of block assists. Freshman outside hitter Barbara Teakell recorded her third double-double in the last six matches, joining Chamberlain in double digits with 12 kills and posting 10 digs.
Half of Chamberlain's kills came in the third set as she had five of the team's first six kills to help the Mean Green to a 6-3 lead.
UNT would extend the lead to 9-5 after junior setter Karley York recorded a pair of her four kills. The Lady Techsters stormed back, forcing the 19th tie of the match at 14-14. Back-to-back-to-back kills by Teakell put the Mean Green ahead for good, and Chamberlain and Teakell posted the final two kills of the match to seal the win for UNT.
The first set was hard-fought from both sides with nine tied scores en route to a 14-14 score. Freshman outside hitter Valerie Valerian recorded an ace and her third kill to continue a four-point streak, giving the Mean Green (24-2, 11-1 C-USA) a 17-14 advantage.
After the Lady Techsters (7-20, 2-11 C-USA) drew the score even a 10th time, UNT closed the set on a 6-1 run behind a pair of kills each for Teakell and Chamberlain.
"LA Tech did a good job with their energy starting out the match, so once we matched their energy and handled the ball on your side of the net, we were able to run our system," Palileo said.
The Lady Techsters never led in the second frame as the Mean Green jumped out to a 7-3 lead as senior Holly Milam posted a pair of kills and her only ace of the match.
Louisiana Tech used a 6-2 run to erase the UNT lead at 14-14, but the Mean Green outscored the Lady Techsters, 11-5, the rest of the way. Valerian accounted for three of the final four points with a pair of kills and her second solo block of the set.
"Val had a good overall match today and showed she's improving on the things she's been working on," Palileo said.
North Texas returns home to host No. 25 Western Kentucky in a showdown for the conference's top spot at 6 p.m. Thursday.
The Mean Green will honor its four seniors for senior night prior to the match.