North Texas Daily

Carnae Dillard was a beast. Now the volleyball team adjusts to fill her shoes

Carnae Dillard was a beast. Now the volleyball team adjusts to fill her shoes

Carnae Dillard was a beast. Now the volleyball team adjusts to fill her shoes
September 01
16:42 2016

Carnae Dillard set about every volleyball record imaginable in 2015, and was the first player in North Texas history to be named Conference USA Player of the Year in consecutive years.

She holds the school record for most kills in a season, career kills and career attacks, and was the backbone of the Mean Green during her tenure.

Despite her legacy, senior setter Amy Henard remembers Dillard as not only one of the greatest players in UNT history — but as her best friend on the team.

“I just remember playing next to her and some of the shots she’d make … you’d just be in awe of how great of a player she was,” Henard said. “The memories we made on the bus rides and plane trips are definitely what I’ll miss most about being with Carnae.”

With Henard now the lone senior on a team made up of eight underclassmen, she is expected now more than ever by head coach Andrew Palileo to be the role model and leader.

Henard has admitted with struggling to know when to turn on the alpha female mentality with her teammates because she has always seen herself as being too nice.

“I just can’t be aggressive all the time,” Henard said. “It changes your character, and it also means a lot more when you do it at those seldom moments when it is much needed.”

Saying goodbye to Dillard and taking on the new leadership role is only the beginning for Henard, who now has to adjust her offensive skills to fit the needs of the remaining hitters.

With Dillard gone, North Texas’ scheme changes completely, and Palileo would like to see multiple women step up and try to take control.

“For the last several years we have really tried to balance out our team and our offensive distribution,” Palileo said, “But it is really hard to do that when you have a player like [Dillard].”

Palileo and Henard both have mentioned they are excited to see junior middle blockers Amanda Chamberlain and Holly Milam step up and execute in Dillard’s absence. However, to replicate the production Dillard gave the Mean Green, it must be a collective effort from the entire team.

“Several players are going to have to step in there and take some of those swings Carnae took last year,” Palileo said. “I think that responsibility falls on more of the older kids than anyone.”

Last year, Milam set a season-high 15 kills against Florida Atlantic University and earned a spot on Conference USA’s Second Team All-Conference roster. Chamberlain, meanwhile, tallied a career-best 14 kills against Boise State University and both women earned a spot on the C-USA Commissioner’s Honor Roll.

Henard, Milam and Chamberlain are no stranger to game day pressure, but without the best player in school history, the trio will all have to make plays in crunch time and down the stretch.

“To personally succeed, I just have to follow the game plan,” Chamberlain said. “Just knowing what I have to do and what I can do and knowing I can put that ball down at crucial moments is how I’m hoping to stay alive this season. We want multiple players in double digits, not just one of us.”

Henard does not want her former teammate to be the only one that left behind a mark on this school and the team. Instead of unbelievable statistics and many broken records, when Henard leaves, she wants to be remembered by her teammates for the effort she gave day in and day out.

“I want to leave my mark as having a leadership role that others would want when they get to be a senior,” Henard said. “I want them to look back and say ‘hey, she came to practice and worked hard everyday and she had our back’.”

As for Dillard, her legacy may be the greatest volleyball player to ever grace the court at North Texas, but her teammates and coach know, and see her in a much different light.

“You may see [Carnae] jumping out there on the court and hitting balls down pretty hard,” Palileo said, “But [the team] sees her, and I see her as that funny kid on the team that just wanted to be a part of the girls.”

Featured Image: Amy Henard, Mean Green setter, is the only senior on the North Texas team. Henard has been recognized numerous times by Conference USA, and has made at least 40 assists in the 2015-16 season. Hannah Breland

About Author

Courtney Anderson

Courtney Anderson

Related Articles


No Comments Yet!

There are no comments at the moment, do you want to add one?

Write a comment

Write a Comment

The Roundup

<script id="mcjs">!function(c,h,i,m,p){m=c.createElement(h),p=c.getElementsByTagName(h)[0],m.async=1,m.src=i,p.parentNode.insertBefore(m,p)}(document,"script","");</script>

Search Bar

Sidebar Thumbnails Ad

Sidebar Bottom Block Ad

Flytedesk Ad