Comeback Bid Falls Short On Dillard's Record-Breaking Night
Once down 2-0, North Texas took FAU to a closely-contested fifth set on Friday
BOCA RATON, Fla. - A new name stands atop the North Texas record book for the program’s career kills honor, but it’s one Mean Green volleyball fans know well.
Senior Carnae Dillard’s record-breaking night was full of excitement, but even her 26 kills wasn’t enough to give North Texas the edge in a dramatic five-set loss to the Florida Atlantic Owls on Friday (25-21, 25-17, 19-25, 20-25, 16-14).
After falling flat out of the gate and finding itself in a 2-0 hole at intermission, the Mean Green snapped into gear, winning the next two sets and putting together what was almost the team’s best comeback rally of the year - almost.
Dillard combined for 10 kills in the final two sets as the fifth frame ended by a down-to-the-wire score of 16-14, and the 12 digs that she added defensively was good enough for her 20th double-double of the year.
The captain’s offensive output was joined by 15 kills from sophomore Holly Milam, who hit an efficient .400 on the night. Overall, however, it was poor hitting that set the Mean Green back from the match’s start.
North Texas hit just .110 in the first two sets of the match. Meanwhile, the Owls defense was able to rack up 95 digs, doing enough to keep the Mean Green out of an offensive rhythm. On the day, FAU outhit North Texas, .217-.186.
The loss overshadows a big night of blocking from the Mean Green, who had a season-high 15.5 blocks in Friday’s match. Sophomore Amanda Chamberlain led the way with her 11 total blocks, setting a new career record.
• Dillard’s 2,234 career kills is tops among all active Division-I volleyball players. The closest person to her total is Arizona State’s Macey Gardner who trails by more than 300 kills.
• With the loss, North Texas moves into a tie with Rice and FAU for fourth place in the league standings. However, due to C-USA tie breaking procedures, the Mean Green would actually fall into the sixth seed under that current scenario. This is due to the fact that NT is 1-2 in head-to-head matches against both Owl teams. Rice (2-1 in h-2-h) would take fourth under the current situation, while FAU (1-1 in h-2-h) would fall into fifth.
• Defense was front and center on Friday night. The 95 digs from FAU was the most allowed by NT in a match this season. Meanwhile, the Mean Green’s 85 digs was the third-best total of 2015.
• The Mean Green lineup continues to undergo changes from the coaching staff. Amy Henard spent most of Friday's match at setter, finishing with 36 assists, but Karley York also got involved with 18 of her own. Both players posted double-doubles.
The Mean Green will play its final road match of the regular season on Sunday against FIU. First serve is set for 1 p.m. CT from the FIU Arena in Miami.