North Texas Daily

Volleyball recognizes anniversary of death of teammate’s mother

Volleyball recognizes anniversary of death of teammate’s mother

Volleyball recognizes anniversary of death of teammate’s mother
October 06
13:08 2015

Torie Mosley | Staff Writer


A year ago last Saturday, the Mean Green were taking on Louisiana Tech University at home when the unexpected happened.

Tina Reese, the mother of 2014 senior setter Camille Cherry, died in a fatal car accident on her way to the game. Dawn Dillard, senior outside hitter Carnae Dillard’s mother, was a passenger in the car but escaped unharmed.

On the eve of the anniversary last Friday when North Texas hosted Rice University, Dawn spoke to a packed home crowd in a tear-filled monologue. She sincerely thanked the fans for their deep and constant support of the volleyball squad that has stuck together through a tremendous amount of adversity.

“You have no idea how much this means to all of our players and families,” she told the crowd.

Dawn said she didn’t know she would speak to the crowd until just prior to the match’s start.

“It was [a surprise] but I think the team felt the same way because last year it brought them so much closer together,” she said. “That just shows you what kind of girls we have. Sometimes it’s not about being a great player it’s about being a great person. I think we’ve got great people on are team.”

Mean Green faithful filled the stands with a sea of matching purple shirts with “CAMSTRONG” printed across the front in remembrance of Cherry’s mother.

The home team would battle back and forth with Rice before finally pulling away with seven unanswered points in the fifth and final set to earn a victory.

“I really wanted this win,” Dawn said. “To me, it was in memory of Camille. It was like [Tina] up above saying, ‘I’m here with you.’ It was almost like a championship to me.”

Cherry was in attendance for the game and agreed with Dawn’s reaction to the game.

“It was really a special thing to watch,” Cherry said. “It kind of reminded me of last year when they played Marshall two days after my mom died and they won in five [sets] so it was crazy and really cool to see. She would be so happy. She’d feel so blesssed.”

Adding to the historic night, Carnae Dillard recorded her 2,000th career kill on her first score. The team captain finished with 31 on the night to reach 2,030 for her career.

Although Dillard said she feels great to achieve such an accomplishment, the San Antonio native said she’s not satisfied yet.

“Hopefully I can get the record,” she said. “I think I can get it by the end of the year.”

The all-time North Texas volleyball kill record stands at 2,211, 182 away from Dillard’s current career total. Her mother said she’s extremely proud to see Carnae notch 2,000 kills after seeing her progress a player and person over the years.

“[Carnae’s] worked for this,” she said. “She gives her all and has grown up so much. Now she doesn’t just play the game, she studies the game. If anybody deserves the [kills] record, she does.”

She also said the her daughter is the strongest person she knows.

“She’s been through so much and she’s still smiling, still standing,” Dawn said. “I don’t think I could’ve done that. She’s a true warrior.”

As the team sang the school and fight song with the fans after the match, Mean Green announcer Rob Coffey uttered the final words to cap the night off.

“We are North Texas. We are CAMSTRONG,” he said.

Featured Image: Senior outside hitter Carnae Dillard waits for a ball from her Mean Green teammates. File Photo | North Texas Daily

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