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Volleyball falls short of upset over WKU

Volleyball falls short of upset over WKU

Volleyball falls short of upset over WKU
October 18
19:56 2015

Brady Keane  | Staff Writer

@BradyKeane3

The battle for control of first place in Conference USA between the Mean Green and No. 22 Western Kentucky lived up to the hype, but the Mean Green were unable to pull off the upset and fell in five sets to the Hilltoppers (23-25, 25-15, 20-25, 25-21, 11-15).

The Mean Green (14-9, 6-2) entered the game looking to avenge a loss to the Hilltoppers in the second round of last season’s C-USA Tournament, and the team was looking to gain control of first place in the conference with a win. However, the match was a back and forth affair for both teams, but the Mean Green fell just short of a win after committing several untimely mistakes in the fifth and final set.

“I thought we played really well for at least 85 or 90 percent of the match,” North Texas head coach Andrew Palileo said. “I thought we were pretty good today.”

After falling behind 2-1 with a loss in the third set, Palileo adjusted the game plan and told junior captain Amy Henard to set senior Carnae Dillard as much as possible moving forward in the match. The adjusted strategy worked for the Mean Green, as Dillard racked up 11 kills in the fourth set and forced the game into the fifth set.

“Coach [Palileo] told Amy to set me every ball,” Dillard said. “I was just trying to find ways to score. I was trying different shots, and took advantage of the situation.”

Although the Mean Green was able to pick up a win in the fourth set, the offense began to falter in the fifth. North Texas had eight attack errors in the final set, and that allowed Western Kentucky (21-2, 8-0) to pull away for the victory.

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North Texas freshman outside hitter Hannah Shaw (9) hits the ball over the net at the game against WKU on Sunday, October 18, 2015. Colin Mitchell | Intern Photographer

“We started to get a little more tense in the fifth set,” Henard said. “We became predictable on offense, so they started shutting some of those balls down.”

Dillard finished the game with 30 kills and 16 digs, while sophomore Holly Milam added a strong offensive performance with 13 kills. Sophomore Amanda Chamberlain had eight kills, freshman Hannah Shaw had seven kills, and freshman Karley York finished with four aces and 10 digs. Additionally, Henard finished the game with 53 assists, breaking the 50+ assist mark for the third time this season.

The Mean Green will look to bounce back from the loss on a road trip this week with stops at Rice on Oct. 21 and Charlotte on Oct. 25.

“We gain confidence from this game for sure,” Henard said. “[Western Kentucky] is a great team, and we hung right in there with them. Just knowing that is a big motivation and it fires us up.”

Featured Photo: North Texas junior setter Amy Henard (12) set the ball for a hit at the game against WKU on Sunday, October 18, 2015. Colin Mitchell | Intern Photographer

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