North Texas Makes Program Statement in Win Over TCU
Packed House Surges Mean Green Past Horned Frogs, 3-0
DENTON - With a full house on hand at the North Texas Volleyball Center, the Mean Green surged past TCU in three sets(25-19, 25-18, 25-22), in a clash of metroplex powers on Sunday night.
"Anytime you can beat an instate rival like that it's a big thing," head coach Andrew Palileo said. "I respect [TCU's] program and what they're doing-[the win] does big things for us in recruiting and other aspects-but for us right now it was just a good match to see where we're at as a program outside of conference play."
Behind the electric atmosphere of an over-capacity crowd, North Texas held the Horned Frogs in check at .194 hitting as a team, well below the .260 season average coming into tonight's match. A much improved Mean Green defensive unit picked up 41 digs and 8 blocks en route to the statement victory.
North Texas took a 2-0 commanding lead into the break after controlling the first two sets of the match, trailing just once to that point. In the third frame, the bid for a sweep seemed to be in question when North Texas found itself facing its largest deficit of the night, trailing 15-11 heading into a timeout called by Palileo.
"When we got down, I told the girls `It's not about the other side of the court, it's about us and what we're doing-we have to handle things a little bit better. We just need to let the plays happen."
Palileo's Mean Green squad, with junior Carnae Dillard at the serve, immediately responded with a 6-1 run to retake the lead over the Horned Frogs. North Texas would trail once more at 20-19, but TCU didn't have enough in the tank to hold off the Mean Green any longer. A Hanna Forst block would put the exclamation point on the three set sweep, igniting the crowd one last time on the night.
North Texas (19-9, 9-5 C-USA) will look to extend its season long seven game winning streak after a short week of practice Conference USA leader UTSA (18-7, 14-0 C-USA) travels to Denton for tough battle on Thursday night. The November 13 tilt with the Roadrunners is set to start at 7 p.m. CT.
- The North Texas Volleyball Center saw its first sellout of 2014. In fact the over-capacity crowd forced the ticket office to turn fans away at the door once the match was underway.
- Since falling in an upset to Charlotte at home on October 17, North Texas has rattled off seven consecutive wins, matching the longest streak of 2014. The Mean Green won seven straight matches in the first month of the season.
- North Texas has won 21 of the last 24 sets played, sweeping five of the last seven matches and three consecutive. The Mean Green has won 10 straight sets and has yet to have dropped a set in the month of November.
- Defending Conference USA player of the week, Junior outside hitter Carnae Dillard, recorded 23 kills on Friday night against Rice. Dillard added another strong performance tonight against TCU with 21 kills, to put her in contention to win the weekly award in back-to-back weeks for the second time this season.
- North Texas picked up its second win in program history over the Horned Frogs, with the only other victory coming back in 2002. TCU still holds a 8-2 advantage in the all-time series with North Texas. However tonight's program statement win comes with hopes that the series may soon become a competitive metroplex rivalry.
- The Mean Green is now 1-1 against Big 12 schools this season, with the loss coming to Kansas on the road earlier this season. The victory is North Texas' first (1-3) over a power conference school in 2014.
- North Texas now only needs to win one of its last two matches this year to secure its 6th 20+ win season in program history. It would be the first since the Mean Green won 26 games in 2012, the last year of Sun Belt play. The Mean Green will face Conference USA instate foes UTSA and UTEP at home in Denton for the final two regular season matches of 2014.
Around the Conference:
Nov. 9, 2014
- WKU 3 at Marshall 0
- at Middle Tennessee 3, UAB 0
- at Rice 3, LA Tech 0
- at Southern Miss 3, Florida Atlantic 0
- Charlotte 3 at UTEP 0
- at UTSA 3, FIU 1