After competing in the Trinity National Invitational in San Antonio, the Comet volleyball team started the American Southwest Conference season on the home court, facing off against the St. Thomas Tigers Sept. 6 and East Texas Baptist Tigers Sept. 12.
Sept. 6 was the first home game all season, welcoming 203 spectators to the neck-to-neck rumble between the St. Thomas Tigers and the Comets. Despite UTD having higher team stats in every category besides hit percentage, the match ended at a 2-3 loss for the Comets, although they showed one of the most impressive displays of defense all season.
Nearly every game was played to match point, with this match’s rallies being the most intense so far. Rising as UTD’s next star athlete, freshman right side Bailey Schievelbein scored an impressive 22 points, 18 kills and 53 total attacks, shattering her previous career record. Senior middle blocker Erin Rogers followed behind with 18.5 points, 11 of which were scored through an attack error. Freshman defensive specialist Mari Hernandez earned her title with 28 digs, raising the energy of the crowd as one of the game’s highlights.
Despite excellent plays on both sides, Comet fans were quick to leave the Activity Center after several unfavorable referee calls, which were met with frequent booing. Less than a quarter of the spectators remained by the end of the game.
Sept. 12 brought together a divided audience of 311 viewers as the Comets prepared for redemption, facing off against the East Texas Baptist Tigers in the first ASC game of the season. The Comets dominated early rounds, but that aggression faded by the third round, ultimately ending in a 1-3 loss.
Despite being neck-and-neck in the first and second match, the Tigers showed their fangs and adapted to UTD’s play style by the third match, forcing Comets to rely on passive tips instead of strikes, leading to their downfall as it often set up the opposing team.
Highlight players include Hernandez returning to the court with an impressive 22 digs, Schievelbein making eight kills and 13 block assists, and sophomore middle blocker Lauren Johnson making nine kills and five blocks.
Since the conclusion of these home games, the Comets entered the Cal Lu Fornia Invitational in Thousand Oaks, California from Sept. 15 to 16, which will be The Mercury covered online at utdmercury.com. Upcoming games include an away game against Sul Ross State on Sept. 22, an away game against Howard Payne on Sept. 23, a home game against Concordia Texas on Sept. 23 and a Gold Match home game against Mary Hardin-Baylor on Sept. 30.