Tarleton falls at UNT in nonconference tilt; goes for season sweep of ACU on Saturday

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DENOTN – Tarleton suffered a loss in straight sets to one of the top teams in the Conference USA on Thursday, falling to host North Texas in set scores of 25-17, 25-21 and 26-24. 

The Texans rattled off a 6-0 run early in set three to command their first lead of the match at 10-5 vs. UNT (15-9, 7-3 C-USA), which sits in second place in the C-USA West Division. Tarleton then tied the evening’s final frame four times at 18-18, 20-20, 22-22 and 24-24 in attempt to extend the affair before the Mean Green closed the books with two straight points. 

Tarleton never trailed by more than four points in the second set and was within two of UNT as late as 21-19 but the Mean Green grouped three kills with a Tarleton attack error on the ensuing six plays to assume a 2-0 match lead. UNT used a 9-2 run in set one to swell its advantage from 14-12 to 23-14 and scored the final two points of the period to earn set victory. 

Hali’a Swartman-Hogan led Tarleton in kills for the first time this season with nine while Carmen Kinsey and Lauren Kersey tallied eight, and seven, respectively. Fellow senior Lorin McNeil led all players in blocks with four. McNeil continues to lead the Western Athletic Conference in total blocks with 105. Setters Kayla Brannon and Melina Maldonado each reached double figures in assists, as Brannon dished out a team-high 16 while Maldonado had 13 of her own off the bench. 

Thursday’s match marked the final nonconference affair of the 2021 campaign for Tarleton. 

The loss snapped a two-match winning streak for Tarleton, which sits at 12-12 overall and 2-3 in WAC play ahead of a 1 p.m.. tilt with conference rival Abilene Christian on Saturday. The Texans defeated the Wildcats in four sets on Oct. 16 in Stephenville. 

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