North Texas Daily

Mean Green volleyball stuns UTSA

Mean Green volleyball stuns UTSA

November 13
22:17 2014

Kyle Youmans / Staff Writer

The Mean Green volleyball team was able to beat the Conference USA leading University of Texas – San Antonio in straight sets (25-21, 27-25, 25-17) Thursday night at home.

Coming into the match UTSA (18-8, 14-1) had won fifteen straight games while North Texas (20-9, 10-5) had won its previous seven matches. These were the top two winning streaks in C-USA.

“This has always been a great home court for us and tonight was no different,” head coach Andrew Palileo said. “We knew that this was a big game coming in and we had to really focus on calming down and staying focused, We were able to be successful because of that and get a nice win.”

The Mean Green was able to start the match fast with an early 9-3 first set lead. The team was then able to fight off a strong charge by the Roadrunners to take the highly intense first set 25-21. For her follow up performance after winning the National Player of the Week Award,  junior outside hitter Carnae Dillard was able to start with a very efficient first set with a .385 attacking percentage and 8 kills.

“She really works hard for everything she has achieved so far,” sophomore setter Amy Henard said. “Even though she has all of these awards and accolades she stays humble through it all and that is what makes her such a good player and a good teammate.”

The second set was the most competitive of the game and included a total of 16 ties and eight lead changes before the Mean Green pulled won in extra points. The second set win was thanks to the play of the freshmen middle blockers who provided a late-set spark for the Mean Green and put UTSA down 0-2.

“I really think the middles were active tonight,” Palileo said. “They made it so that the opposing team couldn’t go around them and aim toward our outside hitters. They did all that they were asked to do by keeping the ball in the middle of the court which really helped us on offense.”

After falling behind 9-5 in the third set, UTSA battled back for its match lives but were never able to get closer than a tie before dropping the third and final set as the Mean Green pulled off the upset.

With the victory, North Texas was able to extend its winning streak to eight straight and hand UTSA its first loss in 22 consecutive conference matches and the first in more than a year.

“Beating an undefeated team is always huge,” Dillard said. “A lot of people are scared to play UTSA and we came out focused and unafraid. It was a nice clean match for both sides and us being able to stay calm in the moment was key.”

The Mean Green will play its final match of the regular season Saturday at 5 p.m. when it takes on the University of Texas – El Paso at home. The match will also be the team’s senior night.

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