North Texas Daily

Mean Green volleyball knock off UTSA in Dillard’s final home game

Mean Green volleyball knock off UTSA in Dillard’s final home game

November 14
16:05 2015

Brady Keane | Staff Writer

@BradyKeane3

In senior captain Carnae Dillard’s final game at the North Texas Volleyball Center, the Mean Green closed out the regular season career of the school’s all-time kills leader with a (25-23, 25-22, 25-14) straight set upset win over the University of Texas at San Antonio.

It was a fitting end to Dillard’s final game in Denton, as the senior led the Mean Green with 10 kills and 12 digs to knock off UTSA, who is locked in as the second seed in the C-USA tournament.

With the victory, the Mean Green finished in a tie with Rice for the third seed in the Conference USA tournament next weekend. However, the Mean Green will enter the tournament seeded fourth, as Rice owns the tiebreaker between the two schools.

“It feels great,” Dillard said. “UTSA is great competition, and we wanted to win at home. We had a great crowd, there was a lot of energy and I’m glad we could take it.”

Although Dillard led the team in kills, the Mean Green exercised a much more balanced offense in the win. Dillard entered the match averaging more than 55 attacks per game, but the captain finished with a season-low 25 attacks against UTSA.

Freshman Hannah Shaw (9 kills) and sophomores Amanda Chamberlain (8 kills), Holly Milam (5 kills) and Alexis Wright (7 kills) each finished with double-digit attacks to pace the Mean Green offensive attack.

Junior captain Amy Henard finished the game with 33 assists.

“We just executed a little bit better,” North Texas head coach Andrew Palileo said. “With that execution comes confidence from the coaching staff and confidence from Amy as well, because she can set the players and they’ll execute.”

Defensively, the Mean Green relied on strong play at the net as Milam finished the match with eight blocks for the second straight game.

“We’ve been working on blocking,” Milam said. “We got them out of their offensive system when we started blocking balls, and UTSA started creating errors for themselves.”

While the Mean Green won the match in straight sets, it was a back and forth affair throughout the first two sets. North Texas did not gain a lead until almost midway through the first set, and UTSA led for the majority of the second set until the Mean Green pulled ahead 23-22.

There were 14 ties and five lead changes throughout the first two sets.

“I hope it pays off next weekend,” Palileo said. “We made some timely plays, we served tough and we executed. We are pretty excited about that.”

The Mean Green will leave for San Antonio on Wednesday to begin preparation for the C-USA tournament that will take place Friday, Nov. 20 through Sunday, Nov. 22. North Texas will play the fifth seed in the first round of the tournament, which will be Southern Mississippi or Florida Atlantic depending on results this weekend.

“This win makes our confidence super high,” Dillard said. “If we can compete with UTSA, we can compete with anybody. We just need to keep our rhythm up.”

Featured Image: North Texas senior outside hitter Carnae Dillard sets the ball against Boise State earlier this season. Ryan Vance | Senior Staff Photograper

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