Mean Green Rolls Rice on the Road
North Texas Extends Set Win Streak to Seven Straight
HOUSTON-North Texas upset Rice in dominating fashion (30-28, 25-19, 25-20) on the road Friday night, for its sixth consecutive victory.
"Playing better on the road is something we have been wanting to work on," head coach Andrew Palileo said. "This win tonight is a result of the hard work we put in during the week-I am proud of the way our girls played tonight."
North Texas, a squad that went 3-8 on the road in 2013, has completely turned a 180 in the way they approach road trips, and it shows. Friday's victory over Rice, a match heavily dominated by the Mean Green, sends North Texas' road record to 7-4 in 2014.
"We managed our game plan well and took advantage of opportunities that Rice gave us in each set," Palileo added. "Winning the first set was big for us-especially being down early-but our players stayed the course and just kept fighting."
In the first frame, North Texas traded blows back and forth with the Owls in a dogfight. Neither team could grasp a lead larger than two points in a set that saw four lead changes and the score tied thirteen times. The Mean Green fought off four Rice set points before junior Carnae Dillard stepped up with two straight kills in the clutch to take the extended first set 30-28.
Palileo's squad finally broke things open in the second set, outhitting the Owls .366 to .077 as a team to take a 2-0 lead. North Texas never looked back after the intermission, leading by as much as ten and never trailing in a dominant third and final set.
"The things that we are doing on our side of the net, we're doing real well right now," Palileo said. "We're playing as a team and our chemistry is thriving right now."
The Mean Green machine keeps on trucking down the final stretch of the regular season, having won six consecutive matches. Of those six wins, most haven't even been close, as North Texas has swept four of those matches and dropped only three sets along the way.
"[Tonight] was a huge confidence boost for us, and hopefully it will carry us into our next match against a tough TCU team," Palileo concluded. "We're going to find out a lot about both teams come Sunday."
The North Texas volleyball program will face a challenging test on Sunday when Big 12 member TCU travels to Denton for what should be an exciting metroplex clash. The Mean Green should have both momentum and a large home crowd on its side to help the mid-major program take a step in the right direction towards the next level.
- North Texas has won seven consecutive sets, and only lost three sets out of the last 21 played.
- Since falling in an upset at home to Charlotte, North Texas has rattled off six consecutive victories. The Mean Green can match their longest win streak of 2014 with a win against TCU at home on Sunday.
- With 23 kills tonight, Dillard has now recorded double digit kills in 25 of the 26 matches she has appeared in this season.
- For the second straight year, the Mean Green have traveled to Tudor Fieldhouse in Houston and come home with a road victory. North Texas defeated Rice 3-1 in 2013, prior to this year's sweep.
- North Texas finished the regular season road trips with four consecutive wins, good for its longest away winning streak this year. With a 7-4 record on the road, Palileo's 2014 squad clinched the first winning season on the road for the program since 2006.
Around The Conference:
(November 7, 2014)
- WKU 3, at Southern Miss 1
- Marshall 3, FAU 2 (Marshall clinches C-USA postseason berth)
- Middle Tennessee 3, at LA Tech 0
- UTEP 3, FIU 2
- UTSA 3, UAB 0