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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

Bobcats rally from two-set deficit to defeat North Texas

Carly Earnest
Texas State senior setter Ryann Torres (14) and redshirt freshman outsider hitter Samantha Wunsch (8) argue a call, Saturday, Aug. 19, 2023, at Strahan Arena.

Texas State volleyball (3-1) reversed swept the University of North Texas (3-3) in its opening game of the Texas State Invitational Thursday night at Strahan Arena. 

The victory marks the team’s first reverse sweep of the 2023 season and third overall sweep. 

The first set of the game was evenly matched as neither team could create much separation until the Mean Green went on a 5-0 run, giving themselves a 20-13 lead. 

Texas State fought back, tying the score at 24-24, but a service error from senior setter Ryan Torres, followed by a kill from North Texas senior Coco Gillet, gave the Mean Green the 27-25 set one win. 

The second set was similar to the first, as the lead never exceeded three points. However, Bobcat serving errors, several North Texas kills and an 8-0 run allowed the Mean Green to take a commanding 2-0 set lead in the match. 

Texas State redshirt freshman outside hitter Samantha Wunsch, who led the team with six blocks and tied for most kills with 15, said the team wasn’t playing up to its standards in the first two sets and knew they could mount a comeback.

“We know that we are a great team, and we weren’t showing what we are made of in those first two sets,” Wunsch said postgame. “It was about being strong and being resilient and coming back in the last three sets and showing them what Texas State volleyball is made of.” 

Texas State began to put together a comeback in set three. With their backs against the wall on the brink of a 3-0 home loss, the Bobcats jumped out to an 8-3 lead. The combination of three straight aces from sophomore middle blocker Bailey Hanner and a .625 hitting performance from Wunsch powered the Bobcats to a 25-17 set three win. 

Feeding off the established momentum created in the previous set, Texas State jumped out to a 5-0 lead in the fourth set. The Mean Green answered with four straight points to make the score 5-4, but that was as close as they would get. Texas State went on a 6-0 run and managed to easily win the set 25-13, forcing a fifth and final set. 

Graduate student outsider hitter K.J. Johnson, who registered 15 kills and a pair of blocks, said team pride and the desire to defend home court helped bolster the team’s comeback. 

“This is our court; this is our team. We know we are a lot better than this. We are all playing and rallying for each other, and I think that helped to keep that in mind to not let them keep momentum on their side. We had to really focus on ourselves,” Johnson said. 

Both teams traded points to begin the fifth set until a 5-0 run gave Texas State a 10-4 lead. Coming out of a timeout, North Texas responded with a 4-0 run, to pull within two points at 10-8. Texas State held onto the lead throughout the set due to timely kills from Johnson and senior outside hitter Sophie Childs and North Texas service errors.  

With the score at 14-13, a North Texas service error clinched the hard-fought victory for the Bobcats.  

Texas State head coach Sean Huiet said the team’s resilience and toughness ultimately won them the game.  

“We have to win three sets; it doesn’t matter what three. I’d really like it to be easier and not as stressful, but this group is so resilient; they’re so tough. I love early on having some of these five-setters and seeing what we’re made of, and I thought we did a really great job rebounding after a tough start,” Huiet said. 

The Bobcats will look to carry the momentum from the victory into its second and final game of the Invitational against the 13-ranked Houston Cougars (4-0).  

The game between Texas State and Houston is scheduled for 3 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 2, at Strahan Arena in San Marcos. 

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