Dillard’s Dominance Displayed In Second Straight Sweep
Middle Blockers Set Tone For Offensive Attack In Matchup With Houston Baptist
TULSA, Okla. - The Reynolds Center was virtually empty as the North Texas volleyball team took the court for its first action of the Tulsa Invitational, but that didn’t stop the Mean Green from coming out strong from the match’s opening serve.
North Texas handled the Houston Baptist Huskies on Friday evening, 3-0, to earn the team’s second consecutive sweep and its third of the season.
Carnae Dillard once again led the offense by continuously finding open spots in an HBU defense that was on its heels for the duration of the contest. Dillard finished with a match-high 22 kills on .327 hitting, her third-best percentage of the season.
While Dillard was the one with highlight-worthy statistics, it was the play of the Mean Green middle blockers that created opportunities for the senior outside hitter. As head coach Andrew Palileo pointed out, Dillard’s play was not so much about setting the tone on offense, but rather playing within its capabilities.
“We were able to stay in-system tonight and that allowed our middles to get involved, which created chances for our outside hitters,” Palileo said. “I think that’s why Carnae had some success tonight, because both middles were able to attract blockers.”
Those middle blockers, sophomores Amanda Chamberlain and Holly Milam, not only attracted the attention of the Huskies blockers - they demanded it. By the match’s end, the trio of Dillard, Chamberlain and Milam had accounted for 36 of the team’s 44 kills.
Milam finished the match with eight kills on .400 hitting, 11 digs and a block, while Chamberlain had six kills and two blocks. While North Texas tallied only five blocks in the match, the Mean Green defense was able to disrupt an HBU attack that hit just .096 on the night.
Up Next For North Texas
The Mean Green continues play in the Tulsa Invitational with two matches on Saturday. The squad will face off with Oral Roberts at 1 p.m. before taking on tournament host Tulsa at 7 p.m.
• Dillard’s 22 kills in tonight’s contest leads Conference USA for kills in a three-set match.
• Tonight was the second consecutive match in which North Texas held its opponent to an attack percentage of less than .100. Against SFA, the Mean Green held the Ladyjacks to just .087, and both matches resulted in three-set sweeps.
• The Mean Green faced off against a familiar face in HBU’s Bailey Banks. Banks was on the North Texas roster last season before transferring over the summer. She led the way for the Huskies, tallying 11 kills and 13 digs.
• North Texas split time between its two setters for the duration of the evening’s match. Junior Amy Henard finished with 16 assists, while freshman Karley York had 20 assists on the night.
• The team finished with a .262 hitting mark on the night. North Texas is hitting .226 on the year, which would rank fifth in North Texas history if the season were to end today.