Mean Green Fails to Close Out Late Leads in Loss to UTSA
North Texas Controls First Two Sets, Still Drops First C-USA Match 0-3
SAN ANTONIO, TX--North Texas, leading for the majority of the first two sets, failed to capitalize and dropped their first Conference USA match on the road to defending champion UTSA (22-25, 22-25, 21-25). The Mean Green falls to 10-5, 1-1 in conference play.
"It wasn't a clean match for either team really," head coach Andrew Palileo said. "We still had opportunities to win the first two sets but didn't execute when we needed to."
North Texas, looking poised to steal momentum early in the match, ran out to a 21-18 lead late in the first set. That's where sleeping giant UTSA awoke, roaring back with six straight points to set up the set point. One last big block by the Roadrunners ignited the Convocation Center crowd and wrapped up set one 22-25. In nearly an identical set two, the Mean Green led by as much as four and never trailed until three straight North Texas errors allowed UTSA to take a 19-17 lead. North Texas would fight back retake the lead at 22-21 but two attack errors set up set point once again for the Roadrunners. Yet another block of Carnae Dillard's attack sent North Texas into the intermission down 0-2.
"[UTSA] made more plays after twenty [points]," assistant coach Susan Halverson added.
North Texas fell behind by as much as nine early in the third and looked as if they might lay down and let UTSA run them out of the court. However, a Palileo timeout reenergized the team to pull within four at 18-22. The Mean Green fought off three straight match points before finally conceding the set 25-21, to fall victim to only its second sweep of the season.
"There aren't really a ton of things we need to fix," Palileo continued. "At this point we just need to get the swag back that we had at the beginning of the year."
Two-time Conference USA offensive player of the week, Dillard, recorded a 13 kill, 12 dig performance in front of her hometown crowd. The junior graduated from local San Antonio high school Lady Bird Johnson before heading north to Denton to play for North Texas. Dillard's 11th double-double of the season puts her among the best in the nation, trailing only Melissa Morello (College of Charleston) and Carly Kan (Mizzou), who both have 12.
The Mean Green is now 6-15 all-time against the Roadrunners and falls to 10-5 on the season. The loss is the first during conference opening weekend for North Texas since 2011.
North Texas looks to get back in win column when they host a tough in-state opponent in Rice on Wednesday, Oct. 1st, at 5:30 p.m. inside the North Texas Volleyball Center in Denton. Check back on MeanGreenSports.com later this week for a full match preview.
- North Texas drops their first match in a conference opening weekend since 2011. The Mean Green have only lost 8 total opening weekend matches in the last decade.
- UTSA is currently undefeated against the Mean Green in Conference USA play. North Texas has dropped all three contests to the Roadrunners during the past two seasons.
- Carnae Dillard has recorded 11 double doubles in 13 matches played during 2014, trailing the NCAA-best by only one.
- Sophomore Amy Henard has totaled 463 assists so far this season, moving into 7th on the all-time North Texas career list with 1,655 assists. She needs 273 to move up to the next spot.
- North Texas takes on Rice at home in only three days. Rice will be returning from a hardfought loss to conference leader Western Kentucky. After trailing 0-2, Rice forced a fifth and deciding set which they dropped 17-15.
Around the Conference:
- at Marshall 3, FIU 0
- at WKU 3, Rice 2
- at Middle Tennessee 3, USM 1
- at UAB 3, LA Tech 0
- Florida Atlantic 3 at UTEP 0
- at UTSA 3, North Texas 0