North Texas Jumps Out to Early Lead But Falls to Rice 3-1

Oct. 1, 2014

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DENTON--North Texas jumped out to a quick lead over Rice, but dropped three straight sets to fall at home to Rice in four sets (25-14, 30-32, 21-25, 20-25). With the loss, the Mean Green falls to 10-6 overall and 1-2 in Conference USA play.

A large crowd on hand for a "WHITE OUT" event seemed to ignite North Texas early in the match. Playing at home for the first time since Sept. 13, the Mean Green ran out to an early 1-0 lead after a dominating first set. Three players recorded 4 kills or more, while freshman Amanda Chamberlain led the way with an incredible .833 hitting percentage (5 kills, 0 errors, 6 total attacks).

"I thought we came out strong with a lot of energy," head coach Andrew Palileo said. "We played well in the second set, and just missed a few opportunities to win it."

The second frame, full of tense moments, provided what would be the turning point for the match. North Texas, trailing by as much as five in the set, battled its way back to tie things up at 20-all, setting up a dramatic finish. As the two teams traded points back and forth, the Mean Green fought off six set points to extend the set all the way out to the 30's. Two straight Rice kills finally sealed up the second set 32-30, seizing all momentum heading into intermission.

"You have to give Rice credit for making the plays needed to pull off the set," Palileo added.

Coming out of the locker room tied 1-1, the Mean Green struggled in both sets three and four on the way to the loss. The Owls forced 29 total North Texas errors while holding the Mean Green to dismal .029 and -.024 hitting in the third and fourth set respectively. Rice would take sets three and four, 25-21 and 25-20, en route to the four set victory.

"The last two sets were really about who was going to control the net more, they ended up outblocking us nine to three," Palileo said. "That really made a difference in the outcome of the match."

Junior Carnae Dillard recorded 23 kills and 19 digs to pick up her 12th double-double this season. Dillard's latest double-double joins her with Carly Kan of Mizzou and Melissa Morello of College of Charleston for the NCAA lead.

Senior Hanna Forst continued the incredible tear she began in Kansas, tallying 18 kills on a .359 hitting performance. Forst just missed equaling her career high of 20 kills, set last season against Idaho.

After the blazing hot start, Chamberlain finished with a third-best 9 kills on a team leading .389 attack percentage. Freshmen Chelsea Abii and Holly Milam rounded out both the offensive and defensive efforts with identical 7 kill, 2 block tallies.

"The great thing about having three matches in a week is that win or lose you have to put your focus immediately after the match on the next opponent," Palileo concluded. "We're already starting to prepare for LA Tech on Friday."

The Mean Green, after running out to a program-best 9-1 start, has now dropped five of their last six matches. North Texas (10-6, 1-2) will get a chance to even up its Conference USA record when a struggling Louisiana Tech squad (7-9, 0-3) comes to town on Friday, Oct. 3, at 7 p.m.

Be sure to check back on MeanGreenSports.com for a full preview on this weekend's matches against LA Tech and Marshall.


Quick Hits:
  • North Texas is now 3-8 all-time against Rice in a series that dates back to 1976. The Mean Green will get a chance for revenge when it travels to Houston to play Rice on Nov. 7 at 6 p.m.
  • Dillard, with her 12th double-double of the season, is now in a three way tie for the national lead. She finished last season with 18 total double-doubles.
  • With 23 kills tonight, Dillard is now only five kills away from moving into the fourth spot on the North Texas all-time career kills list. As a junior, she currently has 1,329 kills in only three years of her career in Denton.
  • Prior to the match, the Mean Green was 27-7 when playing at home in the North Texas Volleyball Center. North Texas now falls to 5-2 at home in 2014.

Around the Conference:

  • The only other C-USA member in action on Wednesday night was Marshall playing host to Big 12 opponent West Virginia in a non conference rivalry matchup. The Herd routed their instate rival in a three set sweep to improve to 9-9 overall. In their previous match, West Virginia led #2 Texas 2-0 before falling in five sets.

 

 


 

 

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