North Texas Perseveres Past Middle Tenn in Five
Mean Green Avoids Trick, Picks Up Treat in Huge C-USA Win
MURFREESBORO, TN - The Mean Green grinded out a tough road victory over Middle Tennessee in five sets (21-25, 25-14, 25-15, 22-25, 15-12) on Halloween night, in a match with massive Conference USA postseason implications.
"It was another good win on the road for us tonight," head coach Andrew Palileo said. "It goes a long way towards preparation for the conference tournament."
North Texas, on the verge of clinching a Conference USA postseason berth, dominated the second and third sets after dropping the opening frame. The Blue Raiders, tied for the eighth and final slot with UAB, hit .156 and .029 in those sets respectively to give the Mean Green momentum.
Middle Tennessee narrowly escaped a near comeback attempt in the fourth set when North Texas rallied to fight off five consecutive set points. After falling behind 9-7 in the fifth and deciding frame, a beautiful finesse shot from senior Hanna Forst seemed to reenergize the Mean Green and propel them to victory.
Freshman McKenna Thornlow capped off the battle with a service ace to seal the victory for North Texas; volleyball's equivalent to a walk-off home run in baseball. Thornlow also added 10 digs on the night.
Junior Carnae Dillard proved once again why she deserves to be among the nation's elite with an absolutely incredible 26 kill, 23 dig performance in the hostile road environment. Dillard's dig tally shatters her previous season high of 18 and falls just three short of a new career high.
North Texas (16-9, 7-5 C-USA) looks to extend its four match winning streak on the road at UAB in Birmingham on Sunday at 1 p.m. A Conference USA tournament slot will be on the line, as the Mean Green looks to clinch while the Blazers continue to scrap for the final spot.
- Junior outside hitter Carnae Dillard recorded a massive "20-20 club" double-double. With 17 double-doubles on the season, Dillard trails the NCAA lead by one.
- Since falling in an upset at home to Charlotte, North Texas has rattled off four consecutive victories.
- With 26 kills tonight, Dillard has now recorded double digit kills in 23 of the 24 matches she has appeared in this season.
- The Mean Green is now 5-2 (3-0 C-USA) in five set matches with its only losses coming to #15 Missouri at home and Cleveland State at a neutral site (Lawrence, Kansas).
- North Texas, with two straight victories away from home, can earn its longest road win streak of the season with a win on Sunday over UAB.
(October 31, 2014)
- Rice 3 at FIU 1
- at Florida Atlantic 3, Charlotte 0
- Marshall 3 at LA Tech 0
- WKU 3 at UAB 1
- Southern Miss 3 at UTEP 1