North Texas Daily

UNT volleyball has found its mojo for the Conference USA tournament

UNT volleyball has found its mojo for the Conference USA tournament

UNT volleyball has found its mojo for the Conference USA tournament
November 13
21:07 2013

Ehsan Azad / Staff Writer

After a rough start to the season because of bad play on the road and key injuries, there has been a momentum shift. The Mean Green volleyball team is on the verge of being much more of a threat in the Conference USA tournament than it seemed earlier this year.

After four losses in five games in mid-October, tournament success didn’t seem likely. On the road against Rice University, the team swept the Owls and gained its first road victory in over a month. It seemed to have sparked something in the team as they have now gone on to win four straight and are just two games out of first place in the conference.

Another game during the win streak is against Tulane University. Beating one of the best teams in the conference that had no road losses was a huge confidence boost for the team.

One of the many reasons to get on the volleyball “bandwagon” is the makeup of the team. Two young stars sophomore outside hitter Carnae Dillard and freshman setter Amy Henard, mixed in with the leadership of senior outside hitter Courtney Windham and senior libero Shelby Tamura, create a talented and deep roster.

For most of the season, the Mean Green gained momentum at home and promptly lost it on the road. The team has a terrible road record of 3-6, compared to an amazing home record of 11-2.

Much of the team’s turnaround can be attributed to two of its best players being in and out of the lineups. Windham missed much of the middle portion of the season to a twisted ankle and Henard’s play started to slip, which resulted in her being benched for a few games.  Since both girls have returned, the play has shot right back up.

The team is averaging a very good attack percentage of 0.341 and holding their opponents to a .172 attack percentage. Windham not only brings great numbers on offense, but her energy on the defensive side is huge with 84 blocks on the year.

Another player who is on fire as of late is sophomore outside hitter Analisse Shannon. After not seeing much play at the start of the year, she recently started to trend up with her play and could be a major factor for the team in the conference tournament. She’s averaging seven kills during the win streak and a ridiculously good attack percentage of 0.493.

Don’t be surprised if they are one of the more dangerous teams during the Conference-USA tournament.

Feature photo: Sophomore outside hitter Carnae Dillard and senior middle blocker Karissa Flack block the ball at the net during a home game against Louisiana Tech on Sept. 29. Photo courtesy of Rick Yeatts 

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