Late Rally Leads Volleyball Over Rice In Five Sets
Dillard Records 2,000th Career Kill, Leads NT Past Owls
DENTON - The North Texas volleyball team used a streak of seven unanswered points in the final frame to knock off the Rice Owls in a five-set win (23-25, 30-28, 25-19, 14-25, 15-12) on Friday night from the North Texas Volleyball Center.
Donning purple attire in remembrance of the #CamStrong movement from a season ago, a motivated Mean Green unit battled for more than two hours against the Owls in a match of long rallies and multiple attacks. Ultimately, it was North Texas (11-8, 3-1) that was able to sneak away with the win.
“I felt like it was going on forever,” captain Carnae Dillard said. “It was just great team volleyball from both teams and it came down to who could sustain the longest.”
Dillard checked off yet another career milestone in the victory, as her first kill of the evening notched the senior’s entry into the program’s previously private 2,000-kills club. She led all players with 31 kills and 20 digs on the night, including five points that came in set five alone.
Rice (12-5, 2-1) threw down a whopping 177 total attacks on the evening (compared to NT’s 152) but was outhit by the Mean Green, .316-.282. The added attacks meant added miscues for the Owls, as Rice outnumbered North Texas in errors, 24-16.
Big play at the net disrupted Rice’s offensive attack, and it was pivotal for a Mean Green team that now sits at third in Conference USA. Sophomore Chelsea Abii had a match-high five of NT’s 11 blocks. She was followed by freshman Jordyn Williams, who used her second career start to tally four blocks on the night.
By the day's end, head coach Andrew Palileo was reassured by his team’s ability to respond in a match that included so much adversity.
“The team did a good job of staying in there and making sure that everybody did their job,” Palileo said. If somebody falters a little bit, somebody else has to step in and help that person out. I think we did that tonight.”
North Texas takes the court again in seven days for a 7 p.m. match on Friday, Oct. 9, at Louisiana Tech.
• Friday’s victory was Palileo’s 50th win as skipper for the Mean Green. With a 50-33 (60.2 percent) overall record at North Texas, Palileo is the winningest coach in the team’s history
• Dillard is now 182 kills away from breaking the program’s all-time mark.
• North Texas is an unblemished 9-0 when notching a higher hitting percentage than the opposition.