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The University Star




The Student News Site of Texas State University

The University Star

The Student News Site of Texas State University

The University Star

No. 15 Bobcats look to increase win streak against Little Rock

Texas+State+junior+outside+hitter+Janell+Fitzgerald+%2816%29+and+junior+middle+blocker+Jillian+Slaughter+%288%29+jump+to+tap+the+ball+over+the+net%2C+Friday%2C+Sept.+25%2C+2020%2C+at+Strahan+Arena.+Texas+State+beat+the+University+of+Louisiana+at+Monroe+3-0+%2825-13%2C+25-16%2C+25-18%29.

Texas State junior outside hitter Janell Fitzgerald (16) and junior middle blocker Jillian Slaughter (8) jump to tap the ball over the net, Friday, Sept. 25, 2020, at Strahan Arena. Texas State beat the University of Louisiana at Monroe 3-0 (25-13, 25-16, 25-18).

Texas State volleyball (11-1 overall, 6-0 Sun Belt) is set to play conference opponent Little Rock (1-8 overall, 1-7 Sun Belt) as part of a three-game series Oct. 23-24 at Strahan Coliseum.
Games one and two will be played Oct. 23 at 11 a.m. and 6 p.m, respectively, followed by game 3 Oct. 24 at 1 p.m.
The Bobcats are entering the series with an eight-game win streak and are ranked No. 15 in the AVCA Coaches Poll.
After a brief feature in the No. 15 spot in week one of the AVCA poll, the ‘Cats were knocked off the poll for two weeks, partly because their matchup against the University of Texas-Arlington Oct. 2-3 was postponed due to COVID-19 protocol. A week later, Texas State pulled off a series sweep over the previously No. 15 ranked University of Louisiana-Lafayette to regain its national ranking.
Head Coach Sean Huiet said the poll has been unpredictable due to many conferences starting play late in the game, including the SEC, which began Oct. 16. Regardless, Huiet said he is happy his team is getting the credit they deserve.
“Some of the SEC teams have started playing and you just never know how those are going to go, but I think we’re in a really good spot for a [national ranking],” Huiet said. “It’s just nice to get that recognition for the team.”
Texas State sits atop the Sun Belt’s West Division while the Trojans have had less luck this season, ranking fourth in the West Division at 1-7 in conference off a four-match losing streak.
Texas State’s eight-game win streak has led them to the top of the conference in hitting percentage (.258) and second in kills (615), assists per set (13.09) and total blocks (94.5).
Little Rock has not managed to reach the top three in any statistical category, but the Bobcats will have a powerhouse outside hitter to look out for in Trojan junior Laura Jansen. Jansen sits at the top of the conference with an average of 4.47 kills per set and is third in total kills (152). By comparison, Texas State junior outside hitter Janell Fitzgerald has the second-most kills in the conference with 153 but is eighth in kills per set (3.48).
If the ‘Cats continue their conference dominance, they will be set to enter the Sun Belt Championship Tournament as the No. 1 seed. A win in the tournament will likely lead to an automatic bid in the NCAA Championship Tournament which the Bobcats have reached two years in a row.
Unlike past seasons, the NCAA Tournament will be held in the spring, months after its usual fall scheduling, and will admit 48 teams instead of past years’ 64.
Huiet said the Sun Belt will probably allow the conference’s tournament champions an automatic bid into the NCAA Championship Tournament and that he’s confident the team will do what it takes to qualify for the spring.
“Part of planning for this season is saving some matches for the spring and hoping and planning that we do what we should and win the [Sun Belt Championship] tournament to go to the NCAA Tournament,” Huiet said. “You have to plan that that’s going to happen, and if it doesn’t then we’ll just kind of work from there, but I like our chances.”

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