Volleyball Falls In Nail-Biter To #22 WKU
NT Comeback Falls Short as Nationally-Ranked Lady Toppers Sneak Away With Win
DENTON - Seeking revenge for an early exit in the conference tournament last season, the North Texas volleyball team traded blows with the defending Conference USA champion #22 WKU Lady Toppers. Unfortunately, it was the Mean Green that lost in this matchup of the league’s top teams, falling in five sets on Sunday (23-25, 25-15, 20-25, 25-21, 11-15).
North Texas (14-9, 6-2 C-USA) continually showed its ability to hang with the nationally-ranked conference frontrunner, splitting the day’s first four sets before inexperience and poor hitting plagued the team in the decisive fifth frame.
“Western Kentucky has played some big matches this year and knows how to calm themselves down in those tense moments,” head coach Andrew Palileo said. “The more you’re in those types of situations, the better you perform. We’ve just got to keep putting ourselves in those positions.”
Sunday’s fifth frame epitomized the tense moments that Palileo spoke of, as five consecutive Mean Green errors put the team down 11-4. Despite North Texas’ best efforts at mounting a comeback, eight Mean Green errors in the frame was too much to overcome. The home team had a -.042 hitting mark in the fifth and decisive set.
It was another balanced effort for a talented WKU squad, who had five players finish with at least 10 kills. Still, Sunday’s match was full of some of the conference’s best volleyball.
Senior Carnae Dillard finished the day with another match-leading 30 kill performance, including 11 kills in the fourth set that kept the Mean Green’s hopes for a win alive. The outside hitter also had 16 digs, notching her 15th double-double of the year.
Dillard wasn’t the only attacker on their game. Sophomore Holly Milam had a season-best 13 kills, while sophomore Amanda Chamberlain added eight of her own. Milam and Chamberlain joined Alexis Wright in having four blocks on the day, tying for the match-lead.
North Texas will next take the court against Rice for a mid-week showdown, scheduled for 6 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 21, from Houston.
• Dillard is 92 kills away from setting the program’s all-time record.
• Setter Amy Henard had 53 assists and 12 digs in Sunday’s action, good for her ninth double-double of the season.
• Sunday’s loss puts a cap on the team’s four-match win streak. It was the Mean Green’s second such streak of the season and ties the longest streak for the team this year.
• Freshman Karley York set a new career high with a match-leading four aces on the day. She also added 10 digs and two assists.