North Texas Daily

Volleyball defeats Rice on milestone night for Dillard

Volleyball defeats Rice on milestone night for Dillard

Volleyball defeats Rice on milestone night for Dillard
October 03
01:00 2015

Torie Mosley | Staff Writer


Coming off a sweep at the hands of the University of Texas at San Antonio in the Alamo City last Sunday, the Mean Green Volleyball team played in front of its home crowd for the first time in 10 days against conference rival Rice University.

North Texas (11-8) (3-1) beat the Owls¬†(12-5) (2-1) in a five-set, back and forth matchup, which is the team’s sixth win in nine matches.

“It was a great bounce back game from the loss to UTSA in San Antonio,” senior outside hitter Carnae Dillard said. “We [played] two really good teams back to back. We didn’t let that loss affect us and we went out there tonight and played hard.”

Dillard recorded her 2,000th career kill at North Texas in the first set. The San Antonio native became the second Mean Green volleyball player of all-time to do so.

“It was awesome,” she said. “I was really focused on trying to sustain that feeling the whole match instead of focusing on the accomplishment. But it felt amazing.”

Head Coach Andrew Palileo said he feels extremely proud of Dillard’s career milestone, but he didn’t compliment the star player without poking a little fun.

“I told her I was disappointed because she only had 31 kills [tonight]. The target was 80 [attempts] and 35. She missed both,” Palileo said. “But honestly she’s played at a pretty good level for a long time over her whole career.”

Junior setter Amy Henard also added 56 assists in the winning effort. Henard said beating Rice meant a lot to her and the Mean Green.

“It’s always a big win when you’ve lost to them the past two years at home,” she said. “Just to come out here in front of the crowd and get a big win is always huge for us.”

North Texas went back and forth with the owls in the game’s opening set with only one lead change in the entire first period.

Dillard and sophomore middle blocker Holly Milam led the scoring with six and four kills for the Mean Green. Junior setter Amy Henard also contributed with 12 assists until the Mean Green had to call a timeout down 18-14.

The home team sparked a 4-1 run out of the timeout before coming up short in set one 25-23.

The second set picked up the pace with five lead changes, opening up with a 6-3 Owl lead before North Texas went on a 20-10 run to take a 23-16 lead. Rice then scored six points in a row to make it 23-22 Mean Green.

A Dillard kill and a Rice service error tied the game at 24, pushing the second set into extra points. The two conference rivals traded points until North Texas prevailed 30-28, tying the game at a set a piece in front of a roaring Mean Green crowd.

Both squads came out firing in the third set. Neither team held onto a lead, keeping it a close contest until the Owls called for a time out down 20-17.

A 4-2 run followed by a Dillard kill made the score 24-19 and kill from freshman outside hitter Hannah Shaw iced the 2-1 match lead for North Texas.

Early errors in the fourth set put the Mean Green down 16-9, shifting the momentum slightly Rice’s way. North Texas would fight but eventually fall 25-14 to take the match to its fifth and final set.

The match intensity did not slow down in the last set. Through four lead changes the score remained tight through out the period, each team scoring just before the other got too far ahead.

Down 12-8, the Mean Green scored five points in a row to go up 13-12 and force a Rice time out. A Dillard kill and a Rice service error notched the 3-2 victory for North Texas.

“It was a really good match,” Palileo said. “I thought we would go five [sets] against Rice, but we had a lot of extra energy here at home and played a great.”

The Mean Green play its next opponent next Friday when they travel to Louisiana to play Louisiana Tech University.

Featured Image: Senior outside hitter Carnae Dillard leads North Texas to victory against Rice. File Photo | North Texas Daily

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