North Texas Fails To Handle Business In Charlotte
Mean Green Finds Itself In Three-Match Skid, Sits At Sixth In C-USA
Sophomore Holly Milam had nine kills on .500 hitting in Sunday's match. (Photo by Rick Yeatts)
CHARLOTTE, N.C. - The race to the Conference USA tournament continues to heat up after another memorable weekend of volleyball action. Unfortunately for the Mean Green, the memories from Sunday's match against Charlotte are some that the team would rather forget.
North Texas fell in three sets to the hosting 49ers (25-21, 25-21, 25-22), extending its losing streak to three matches and dropping the team into a tie with Rice for sixth place in C-USA.
"Today I think we were pretty much outmatched in every phase of the game," head coach Andrew Palileo said. "We just didn't have the step today. It was less about being tired and more about the effort."
The Mean Green (14-11, 6-4) put itself in a hole from the onset of the match, going down 11 points before a five-point and two three-point streaks got them back into it. But, plagued by a lowly .139 hitting percentage, North Texas ultimately fell in the set, 25-21.
The team didn't take a lead in the match until the opening points of set three. Despite having a 12-5 lead, Charlotte was able to use a balanced attack to streak together points, allowing them to sneak out with the 25-22 win in the deciding set.
The Mean Green finished with a .243 hitting mark on the day. In terms of efficiency, the team was led by sophomore Holly Milam, who had nine kills on .500 hitting to go along with six digs and two blocks.
Sunday's loss to the 49ers is reminiscent of the last time these two squads matched up. Like today, that loss to a lower-ranked Charlotte squad last October put North Texas in a three-match losing streak. That North Texas team responded by winning a record 10 straight games.
With only six regular season matches remaining on the team's schedule, the Mean Green will hope to respond in a similar fashion as the season nears its end.
Senior Carnae Dillard is now 53 kills away from breaking the program's all-time record. She had 11 kills and 11 digs on Sunday, good for her 17th double-double of the year.
The all-time series between the two squads is now tied at 2-2 as Charlotte has won each of the last two meetings.
The loss to Charlotte marks the first time this season that a team ranked lower than NT in the preseason coaches poll has trumped the Mean Green. The team's other conference losses came to #22 WKU, UTSA and Rice.
North Texas now prepares for back-to-back home matches this week. UTEP visits the North Texas Volleyball Center on Thursday at 5 p.m., before Southern Miss comes to Denton the following day for a 7 p.m. showdown.