Late-Match Dominance Fuels Second Mean Green Win Of Season
Dillard Leads Way As Experienced Core Follows
NORMAN, Okla. - North Texas came into Oklahoma’s Nike Invitational hoping to end its three-match skid and add to a 1-3 record. The Mean Green did just that with its five-set win over Central Arkansas on Friday afternoon, defeating the Bears 3-2 (25-23, 18-25, 22-25, 25-22, 15-4).
Senior Carnae Dillard led the way with an all-around performance that included 14 digs, three blocks, two assists and a match-high 27 kills as North Texas (2-3, 0-0 C-USA) was able to take control of UCA (1-3, 0-0 Southland) in the match’s critical moments.
Down two sets to one, the Mean Green had its back against the wall in a fourth set that was back-and-forth though the first half. That’s when the experience of returners Dillard, Amanda Chamberlain and Holly Milam started to pay off.
In the final two sets alone, the trio combined for 22 of the team’s 25 kills. Additionally, they were pivotal in disrupting the UCA attack and getting big blocks at the net.
“We took a few more chances because we had nothing to lose,” said head coach Andrew Palileo. “That fourth set was definitely a momentum changer and our play carried over.”
That momentum carried into the deciding fifth-set, where North Texas handled the Bears, 15-4, to take the match.
Junior Amy Henard ended the showdown with 43 assists and 12 digs, good for her second double-double of the season. Meanwhile, freshman McKenzie Christopher tallied a match-high 20 digs.
Up Next For North Texas
The Mean Green continues its weekend at the Nike Invitational with a primetime matchup against Oklahoma. North Texas will battle the Sooners on their home court at 7 p.m. tonight from the McCasland Fieldhouse.
• North Texas is now 2-0 when tallying more assists than the opposition but the team is a winless 0-3 when it is out-assisted. In Friday’s opening match, the Mean Green had a single assist more than UCA.
• Freshman Jordyn Williams made her first career start for the Mean Green. She ended the match with three kills on six total attacks.
• Freshman Alyvia Palileo saw her first action on the court this season.