Volleyball Team Is All Set for Postseason Run
Kayla Jordan prepares to set the ball to Michelle Toro during a recent match against Bellhaven at the Activity Center. This season, Jordan became the UT Dallas all-time leader in assists, while Toro was just the fifth Comet in program history to earn national player of the week honors.
The Comets (27-2, 11-0), ranked No. 15 in the NCAA Division III AVCA Coaches Poll, are seeking their third conference title and first since 2009. They will open play in the double-elimination tournament at 7:30 p.m. against either Concordia Texas or UT Tyler at the Activity Center.
“The girls have talked about what it takes to win a championship. One of the things they have come to understand is that when it comes tournament time, you got to turn it on. It's not the same competition level that you had during the regular season,” said head coach Marci Sanders, who has a 279-103 career mark in her 12 seasons with the Comets.
“They are prepared, and the experience will definitely make a difference for us here in the homestretch.”
The Comets are led by senior Kayla Jordan, the program's career assists leader. She earned ASC Player of the Week honors four times this season, and her average of 11.9 assists per set is the best in NCAA Division III.
The volleyball team has won 20 consecutive matches, the second-longest winning streak in the program's history. The Comets are seeking their third American Southwest Conference championship and first since 2009.
Junior Holyn Handley leads the Comets with 3.39 kills per set, hitting at a .247 clip, while junior Michelle Toro adds 3.16 kills and a team-best .381 hitting percentage. Toro became the fifth Comet in the program’s history to earn AVCA National Player of the Week honors. Junior Abbie Barth leads the Comets with 5.22 digs per set, while Toro ranks among the best in the ASC with 1.08 blocks per set.
As a team, the Comets lead NCAA Division III in assists per set (13.65) and digs per set (21.08), and rank second nationally in kills per set (14.12). UT Dallas is second in the ASC in hitting percentage (.243) and blocks per set (2.04).
This is the fourth time the University has hosted the ASC volleyball tourney. The Comets have a 13-13 all-time record in the event, and both of their ASC titles (2008, 2009) came at the Activity Center. The ASC winner earns an automatic berth in the NCAA Division III National Championship Tournament.
2015 ASC Volleyball Tournament Schedule
Daily tournament admission is $8 for adults and $5 for students. Children under 5 are admitted free. All games will be played at the Activity Center. Souvenir T-shirts will be available for $20, while supplies last. Live stats and video will be provided for all matches at the Tournament Central website.
Game 1 – East Texas Baptist vs. Hardin-Simmons, noon
Game 2 – Concordia Texas vs. UT Tyler, 2:30 p.m.
Game 3 – Mary Hardin-Baylor vs. Winner Game 1, 5 p.m.
Game 4 – UT Dallas vs. Winner Game 2, 7:30 p.m.
Game 5 – Loser Game 2 vs. Loser Game 3, noon
Game 6 – Loser Game 1 vs. Loser Game 4, 2:30 p.m.
Game 7 – Winner Game 3 vs. Winner Game 4, 5 p.m.
Game 8 – Winner Game 5 vs. Winner Game 6, 7:30 p.m.
Game 9 – Loser Game 7 vs. Winner Game 8, 11 a.m.
Game 10 – Championship / Winner Game 7 vs. Winner Game 9, 2 p.m.
Game 11 – (if needed) / Game 10 Teams, 6 p.m.
Parking information: Due to classes, spectators will not be able to park in Lot J, next to the Activity Center, today and Friday. Please park in Lot U, which is south of the tennis courts and the soccer field. A shuttle may be available to take spectators to and from the Activity Center. On Saturday, spectators can park in Lot J, but only in designated green spaces. For more information, check out the parking map.
Both UT Dallas soccer teams will be playing away from home in the semifinals of their respective American Southwest Conference tournaments this week.On Tuesday, the women's team (14-7) advanced with a 2-1 victory over LeTourneau at home, thanks to goals by freshmen MaKayla Forsberg and Amanda Avalos.
The Comets will face UT Tyler at 11 a.m. Friday at Hardin-Simmons University in Abilene, Texas.
UT Dallas has been led this season by top goal scorer Jacqueline Kaufman, whose 13 goals are the most by a freshman since 2008. Freshman goalkeeper Monica Dallacasa has recorded six shutouts for coach Kanute Drugan's team.
The men's team (14-3-2, 7-1-1), which earned a first-round bye, will play at 2 p.m. Saturday in Tyler, Texas, against the winner of today's meeting between Concordia Texas and Ozarks.
Early in the season, the Comets won nine straight games to climb into the top 10 of the NCAA Division III coaches’ poll. But the Comets posted just a 1-2-1 mark over the final four games.
“We got to settle down and play our own game, and if we can do that we'll be strong challengers,” said third-year men's head coach Jason Hirsch, who has a 40-9-11 overall record entering the tournament.The Comets have a school-record-tying 12 shutouts and boast a league-best 0.61 goals against average. Offensively, sophomore Danny Meyer leads the way with 11 goals and 25 points, ranking third in the ASC in both categories.Junior goalkeeper Joseph Weber has a 12-2-2 record with a league-leading six shutouts.2015 ASC Soccer Tournaments
Hosted by the Universityof Texas at Tyler
TodayGame 1 – Hardin-Simmons vs. Mary Hardin-Baylor, 5 p.m.Game 2 – Concordia Texas vs. Ozarks, 8 p.m. Saturday SemifinalsGame 3 – Texas-Tyler vs. Winner Game 1, 11 a.m.Game 4 – UT Dallas vs. Winner Game 2, 2 p.m. SundayChampionship FinalGame 5 – Winner Game 3 vs. Winner Game 4, 1 p.m.
Hosted by Hardin-Simmons University in Abilene
FridaySemifinalsUT Tyler vs. UT Dallas, 11 a.m.Hardin-Simmons vs. Mary Hardin-Baylor, 2 p.m.
SundayChampionship Final, 1 p.m.
Media Contact: The Office of Media Relations, UT Dallas, (972) 883-2155, [email protected].