Mean Green Volleyball Goes Toe To Toe With No.15 Missouri, Falls 3-2
North Texas Closes Out The North Texas Invitational With Narrow Loss
NT-MIZZOU BOX SCORE
DENTON--The Mean Green volleyball team lost early momentum and dropped the fifth and deciding set to #15 Missouri 15-12, to fall to 2-1 at the conclusion of the North Texas Invitational Saturday night at the North Texas Volleyball Center.
"You don't get many opportunities to beat a ranked team and I think we let one slip tonight," head coach Andrew Palileo said. "The girls were prepared, it's just a matter of executing--we didn't execute and we got a little timid in set five."
The Mean Green, coming in 2-0, jumped on the Tigers early, taking the opening set of the tournament finale 25-17. No. 15 Missouri finished fifth in the final RPI poll last season and saw a 36 regular season match win streak break earlier today in a three set loss to Northwestern State.
"Having coached in the Pac-12 and the Big 10, I know how teams [like Missouri] look at playing mid-major schools," Palileo added. "We prepared to find ways to take advantage of [Missouri] coming out slow, we weren't intimidated at all."
North Texas, a Conference USA member, saw its momentum fade to the SEC's Missouri squad in pivotal sets two and three. For the second time in three matches for the Mean Green, long rallies back and forth extended the set beyond the normal 25 point threshold. This time North Texas was not fortunate enough to capitalize and Missouri took the third set 31-29.
The Mean Green did show fight, however, and battled back in the fourth set, jumping out to an 18-10 lead. North Texas would eventually close out the set 25-18 on two straight kills from freshman Alexis Wright, forcing a fifth and deciding set.
A service ace by junior Carnae Dillard late in the fifth set pulled North Texas within one at 13-12 as the Mean Green looked poised to mount a comeback. However, two straight North Texas attack errors sealed the set and match victory for Mizzou.
Dillard recorded a 29 kill, 12 dig performance for her second double-double in two matches played this season. Coach Palileo opted to rest her in order to experiment with other lineup sets in this morning's three set victory over Mississippi Valley State. Sophomore Amy Henard had yet another impressive night totaling 12 digs and 59 assists, falling just nine assists short of her career high set last season at Idaho. Both Dillard and Henard were honored for their performances this weekend by being named to the North Texas Invitational All-Tournament team by a vote of the participating teams' respective coaching staffs.
North Texas will immediately turn around and rest during their travel day tomorrow as they prepare to face Stephen F. Austin in Nacogdoches on Monday (Sept. 1) at 7 p.m.
Visit the North Texas Invitational Tournament Central page for more information about how the rest of the tournament field played out.
2014 North Texas Invitational All-Tournament Team
- Carnae Dillard - OH - JR - North Texas (59 kills, 27 digs in two matches played)
- Amy Henard - S - SO - North Texas (111 assists in 11 sets played)
- Whitney Little - MB - SR - Missouri (.536 attacking percentage with 27 kills and 6 total blocks)
- Emily Wilson - OH - SR - Missouri (27 kills in 11 sets played)
- Mackenzie Neely - MB - SR - Northwestern State (26 kills, 9 total blocks and two service aces in eight sets played)
- Lauren Agan - OH - SO - Northwestern State (29 kills, two block assists, and two service aces)
- Keelie Arneson - L - SR - Northwestern State (59 digs and only one reception error across three matches played)
2014 North Texas Invitational Champion
North Texas, Missouri and Northwestern State all finished 2-1 overall in the tournament and each had 1-1 records against eachother. This forced a three way tie for first between North Texas, Missouri and Northwestern State.