North Texas Daily

Volleyball falls to WKU in C-USA tourney

Volleyball falls to WKU in C-USA tourney

Senior Carnae Dillard hits a ball off her forearm to pass to a setter. Courtesy | North Texas Athletics

Volleyball falls to WKU in C-USA tourney
November 22
13:18 2015

Brady Keane | Staff Writer


For the third straight season, the Mean Green volleyball team’s quest for a Conference USA championship ended in the semifinals of the conference tournament as North Texas (20-13) fell in straight sets (12-25, 21-25, 17-25) to No. 21 Western Kentucky University.

The loss puts a damper on a season that began with championship aspirations, as the Mean Green were unable to close out the career of back-to-back C-USA Player of the Year Carnae Dillard with a title.

“Western Kentucky has always been a team that’s been in the back of our heads as a team that we knew would have to beat,” junior captain Amy Henard said. “We need to mentally prepare ourselves better.”

WKU (30-3) grabbed the momentum of the match from the beginning and never let up, as the Mean Green was unable to get anything going offensively throughout the afternoon. The Hilltoppers dominated the first set in a 25-12 victory and held the lead throughout the majority of the match.

Communication errors and untimely mistakes plagued the team as North Texas finished with 24 errors in the loss.

“We were way more tentative today,” Palileo said. “I think that caused a lot of uncertainty and doubts in our minds to start off with. That was the biggest disappointment, we just didn’t come out with confidence.”

Just a day after executing the perfect offensive balance to knock off Florida Atlantic University in the quarterfinals, the Mean Green struggled to find help for Dillard at the net. Therefore, WKU was able to hone in on the all-time kills leader in North Texas history.

Dillard finished with just 11 kills but added 11 digs for her 24th double-double to close out the season. Sophomore Holly Milam had six kills and 12 digs, while freshman Hannah Shaw and sophomore Alexis Wright added five kills each.

“We didn’t pass the ball well, and when we didn’t pass the ball well we were tentative in our swings,” Palileo said. “It’s just a snowball effect.”

The Mean Green now head into the off-season with the task of replacing the 687 kills that Dillard brought to the table this season, but the team also brings back a strong core of young talent from this season.

Regardless, Palileo and the team know that there is work that needs to be done in order to move on from the team’s third straight loss in the conference semifinals.

“I think they’ll be fine,” Dillard said. “They’re on the road to doing something great at North Texas, but it will take a lot of work to do it.”

Featured Image: Courtesy | North Texas Athletics

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