Volleyball Can’t Hold Lead, Falls In Five To Rice
Mean Green Move to 14-10, Returns To Action Sunday
Freshman Hannah Shaw had a career-high 17 kills on Wednesday. (Photo by George Walker)
HOUSTON - North Texas senior captain Carnae Dillard put down 28 kills and freshman Hannah Shaw set a new career-high with 17 kills of her own, but it wasn’t enough to cancel out a late-match rally by the Rice Owls in a five-set loss (26-24, 22-25, 25-19, 17-25, 10-15) on Wednesday night from the Tudor Fieldhouse.
North Texas (14-10, 6-3) appeared to be in the driver’s seat during the first half of the Conference USA showdown. But, with the Mean Green up 2-1 through three sets, Rice battled back to take the final two frames. North Texas entered Wednesday’s match with a 7-1 record when leading after three.
“I thought we played well enough to win,” head coach Andrew Palileo said. “We didn’t execute a couple plays early in the fifth set which put us on our heels.”
After winning the third set with a convincing 25-19 score, North Texas wasn’t able to continue its winning ways. The team tallied 10 errors in the fourth set alone, fueling a 7-1 Rice run early in the frame that ultimately gave the Owls the cushion they needed.
Rice rode the momentum into the fifth set as they were able to contain North Texas to a dismal .043 hitting percentage in the frame, allowing the Owls to build up a 12-2 lead that wouldn’t be relinquished. The Mean Green ended the set with 10 points - five from Rice attack errors, four from Dillard kills and one from a kill chipped in by Amanda Chamberlain.
On the day, North Texas was outhit, .226-.199. Even more eye-opening, that deficit grew exponentially worse in the pivotal fourth and fifth frames, where the Mean Green was outhit .316-.083.
In addition to Dillard’s 28 kills, the outside hitter had 23 digs, her second-highest total of the season. Sophomore Holly Milam continued to fill her role as an all-around player for the Mean Green, collecting seven kills, 10 digs and four blocks on Wednesday. Middle blocker Amanda Chamberlain had eight kills of her own, going along with three blocks. Additionally, setter Amy Henard notched her 10th double-double of 2015 with 55 assists and 12 digs.
• #CarnaeKillCounter: Dillard is now 64 kills away from breaking the program’s all-time record.
• Each of the Mean Green’s three conference losses have come from teams that were picked to finish ahead of North Texas in the league’s preseason coaches poll.
• Sophomore Amanda Chamberlain is hitting .344 on the season. That would be the second-highest attack mark for a season in program history, and it is good for sixth in C-USA.
• Even with the loss, North Texas is hitting at a record pace. The team’s .241 hitting percentage would be second in program history if the season ended today. The team’s .199 mark on Wednesday was its worst since falling to UTSA on Sept. 27.
North Texas returns home after Wednesday’s match, but the team will turn right back around for a road matchup this weekend. The Mean Green are set to take on the Charlotte 49ers at 1 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 25, from the Halton Arena.