Senior outside hitter Kellie Culbertson recorded her 14th double-double of the season with 20 kills and 23 digs and sophomore outside hitter Maura McGivern recorded a career-high 18 digs to lead University of Tulsa volleyball team to a 3-1 (25-16, 20-25, 25-21, 28-26) win over North Texas on Sunday afternoon at the Donald W. Reynolds Center.
Culbertson added two service aces, three assists, three blocks and a .278 hitting percentage for the Golden Hurricane (14-4, 3-0 C-USA), which extend its win streak to six matches. Her 20 kills ties a career-high and has recorded a double-double in nine of her last 10 matches. The Long Beach, Calif., native has had three matches with 20-plus kills and 20-plus digs in the same match this season.
McGivern tied a career-high with eight kills, while freshman outside hitter Erica Bohannon added 11 kills. Junior setter Bailey Clampitt added 31 assists and nine digs, while freshman setter Genesis Viera recorded 16 assists.
Freshman libero Brooke Berryhill recorded 20 digs and has recorded 20-plus digs in five of her last six matches.
"It was a huge win for us," Tulsa Head Coach Steven McRoberts said. "North Texas has a very good team. They came in 3-0 in the conference and we came in to the match 2-0, so we knew it was going to be a big matchup. To lose Val yesterday to an ankle injury in practice, there were a lot of unknowns for us. I thought Maura McGivern did a really good job stepping into that role, especially early. Then, the combination of her and Paige (Panfil) combined did a good job in Sets 3 and 4. It was a total team effort."
Tulsa stormed out to a 6-0 lead in the first set on the strength of Culbertson's service, and led 10-3 before North Texas used a 9-3 run to close the gap to one point, 13-12. TU used a six-point run of its own to extend the lead back to seven points, 19-12. From the 13-12 score, the Hurricane outscored the Mean Green 12-3 over the second half of the set to claim the 25-16 win. TU tallied a .580 sideout percentage, and was led by Bohannon's six kills and .857 hitting percentage. Clampitt assisted on eight kills, Culbertson had nine digs, and McGivern tallied four kills and four digs.
In the second set, Tulsa once again took an early lead, scoring the first four points behind Clampitt's serving. North Texas tied the score at eight, and with the set knotted at 12, the Mean Green scored two points to take its first lead at 14-12. UNT led by as many as four points at 20-16 and 23-19 on its way to the 25-20 Set 2 win. Culbertson led TU with five kills and McGivern tallied 10 digs in the set, while North Texas hit .306 and converted 66 percent of its sideout opportunities.
Culbertson recorded seven kills and five digs in the third frame, including the final dig and kill that put away the 25-21 win. The set, which featured nine ties and six lead changes, was tied 10 when the Golden Hurricane scored three straight points to take a 13-10 advantage. UNT came back to tie again, 13, and with the score knotted at 15, Tulsa took the lead with a service ace by senior middle blocker Miriele Gobbo, and never trailed again on its way to taking a 2-1 lead with the 25-21 win. TU converted 59 percent of its sideout opportunities, and Berryhill tallied seven digs in the set.
The fourth set was marked by 20 tie scores. The lead changed hands six times, and neither team ever led by more than Tulsa's four-point, 12-8, early advantage. After the Mean Green knotted the set at 14, the teams went back and forth with no two-point leads until the Hurricane picked up the final two points of the 28-26 win with kills by Viera and junior middle blocker Carly Boatwright. Each team converted more than 70 percent of its sideout opportunities in the frame, and Culbertson led TU with six kills, while Bohannon added five kills.
"We had to have people doing things that we hadn't practiced," said McRoberts. "I think we've heard that story before this year where we just all of a sudden got thrown into a tough situation. We got stuck, we ran out of subs there in the last set. Genesis was playing on the front row for the first time all year. Bailey was on the back row playing right back, wondering what to do back there just as a DS, and it just all worked out. We made plays when we had to. Kellie Culbertson got off to a bit of a slow start and came on strong. She had over 20 kills and 20 digs for the second time in three matches here in conference play. Brooke had another solid match on the back row. Again, it was just a total team effort. We had a lot of people step in and play significant roles in this one."
The Golden Hurricane hits the road next weekend with a trip to south Florida to take on Florida Atlantic Friday at 6 p.m. and FIU Sunday at noon.