Texas-Dallas Rallies For 3-1 Win Over Whitworth In NCAA Opening Round

Texas-Dallas Rallies For 3-1 Win Over Whitworth In NCAA Opening Round

THOUSAND OAKS, CA (11.13.15) - After dropping the first set of a match for just the eighth time this season, the No. 14-ranked UT Dallas volleyball team bounced back for a 3-1 win over Whitworth University Friday night in the opening round of the 2015 NCAA Division III National Championship Tournament.

The Comets (now 31-2) matched a school record for wins in a season, set in 2013, by picking up their 24th straight victory in a 19-25, 25-22, 25-15, 25-17, decision against Whitworth. UTD will now play in the second round of the national tournament for just the second time in program history Saturday at 7 p.m. (Central) against tournament host and No. 9-ranked California Lutheran. CLU downed No. 8 Colorado College, 3-0, in Friday's final match of the night. UTD will be looking to match the program record for consecutive victories (25, 2009).

Junior Holyn Handley matched a UTD four-set record with a 26-kill performance as she sparked the Comets to the come-from-behind victory. She hit .362 for the match and added 13 digs and four blocks. Handley matched the Comet four-set record set by Kyleigh Irish during the 2008 season.

Junior Michelle Toro finished with 12 kills and contributed seven blocks. Senior setter Kayla Jordan, the NCAA D-III leader in assists per set, distributed 48 assists, 12.0 per set. Freshman libero Fayna Zeng had a match-high 19 digs while junior Abbie Barth finished with six kills, 18 digs and a pair of aces. The Comets would out-block WU, 11-3, and collect four service aces.

The Comets finished the match hitting .324 for the match, despite hitting just .194 in an opening-set 25-19 loss to the Pirates (now 19-8). UTD struggled early the match, committing six errors in 36 swings in the opening stanza. The Comets settled down for the remainder of the match, making just eight errors over the final three sets. In a dominant, 25-17, win over WU in the third set, UTD hit .567 as a team, collecting 18 kills with just one error in 30 attacks. The Comets improved to 6-2 this season when losing the first set of a match.

UTD improved to 2-3 all-time in the NCAA D-III Tournament, earning the Comets' second tournament win in three seasons. After one-and-done performances in 2008 and 2009, the Comets opened the 2013 event with a 3-1 win over Pomona-Pitzer before a three-set defeat to eventual national runner-up California Lutheran.

In other Thousand Oaks Regional action Friday, top-ranked nationally Washington-St. Louis downed California-Santa Cruz, 3-1, and No. 7 Claremont-Mudd-Scripps handled 12th-ranked Southwestern, 3-0. Those two winners will play at 4:30 p.m. (Central) Saturday. The regional title match is slated for 4 p.m. (Central) Sunday.