With the conclusion of the 2016 regular season, the UT Arlington volleyball team ended conference about where I expected, with a 10-6 record, good for third in the West Division and fourth overall in the Sun Belt Conference.
The 10-6 record was exactly what I thought they were going to get, though I had the teams wrong. I thought they would get swept by Arkansas State and lose their sole match to Coastal Carolina. The ones I had wrong were minor. I thought they would split with both Texas State and Little Rock. Instead they swept the Trojans and were swept by the Bobcats. I thought that if they were going to lose to a team in the east not named Coastal Carolina, it would by Georgia Southern, instead they lost to Georgia State in five.
For the fourth year in a row, UTA has finished fourth in the SBC. On top of that,
non-conference losses to North Texas (13-16), Abilene Christian (12-19),
New Mexico (14-15) and Ole Miss (9-16) contributed to a really poor
non-conference showing, 6-9. Coupled with the Georgia State loss, there's five losses that just obliterate any chance of post-season success.
I'm somewhat pleased that the Mavs were able to rebound after a poor start to the season. But once again, a team with a history (albeit far removed and getting farther) of national competition has proven to be nothing more than a nuisance to the top teams in the conference.
With the rest of the athletic teams seemingly on an upward trajectory of national competition and relevance, it is frustrating that the team that was once there can't get out of its current gear.
UTA hosts the SBC tournament and will open the tournament against Little Rock at 7:30 pm this Friday, November 18.
While we are on the topic of the end of the regular season, let's look at the final standings.
Coastal Carolina 15-1 / 24-4
South Alabama 7-9 / 16-13
Georgia Southern 7-9 / 15-17
Georgia State 6-10 / 10-17
Troy 4-12 / 10-23
Appalachian State 2-14 4-25
Arkansas State 15-1 / 23-7
Texas State 13-3 / 20-11
UT Arlington 10-6 / 16-15
Little Rock 8-8 / 12-17
UL Lafayette 6-10 / 10-21
UL Monroe 3-13 / 9-25
Looking back at my post-non-conference, pre-conference predictions, I did alright for myself. Transpose the two Louisiana schools and I was perfect in the West Division. Transpose Appalachian State and Georgia State and I nailed the East.