Volleyball Falls In Opening Round Of C-USA Tournament
Milam, Chamberlain Combine For 39 Kills
HOUSTON – The North Texas volleyball team was dealt a four-set loss by the Southern Miss Golden Eagles in the Conference USA quarterfinal match, ending the Mean Green’s tournament run.
The Mean Green (13-17) secured the first frame 25-19, but dropped the next three to Southern Miss (20-25, 22-25 and 21-25).
“I thought we did a good job of following the game plan in set one,” head coach Andrew Palileo said. “We came out poised and under control and our girls did a good job. For the most part we played steady and were in every set, but we just could not close again.”
First-team All-Conference selections Holly Milam and Amanda Chamberlain combined for 39 of the Mean Green’s 53 kills. Milam’s 22 kills matched her career high.
“Holly and Amanda will always get the numbers because of the amount of sets they receive,” Palileo added. “We just needed another player to bookend the two of them tonight, we didn’t get it and that hurt us.”
Slow starts were an issue for the Mean Green in the regular season, but it wasn’t Friday night as the squad never trailed in the opening set. North Texas opened a six-point advantage on the Golden Eagles (23-7) behind multiple Southern Miss attack errors and three service aces.
The Golden Eagles rallied back, and cut the deficit to three on a kill by first-teamer Stephany Purdue, but North Texas responded with a 4-1 run, securing a 25-19 victory on a kill by Milam.
In the second frame, the Golden Eagles opened a 4-1 lead, but North Texas wouldn’t go away quietly and rallied to get within one. Southern Miss maintained its advantage until late in the frame, when North Texas made a last effort comeback.
Down 20-17, North Texas tied the set at 20 behind a kill from Emma Eakin and two from Milam, forcing a Southern Miss timeout. The Golden Eagles went on a 5-0 run out of the timeout, evening the match at one with a 25-20 victory.
Set three got out of hand early for the Mean Green, as three-straight aces from Kylie Grandy capped a 6-1 run for Southern Miss, opening a 10-point lead. North Texas mounted a late rally, going on a 10-4 run of its own, bringing the score to 22-20. Milam, Chamberlain and Eakin each had at least two kills in the run. Southern Miss regained its composure, taking the set 25-22.
With the fourth set knotted at 16, two kills from Holly gave the Mean Green the advantage late, but a 9-3 run gave Southern Miss a 25-21 set victory and a 3-1 match win.
• North Texas had three aces in the opening frame, matching the total it had in the two previous meetings. The team finished with four in the match
• North Texas’ set one victory was the first time the team led a match versus Southern Miss this season
• Milam pushed her streak to 11-consecutive matches with 10 or more kills. Her 64 attempts marked a career high
• This is the third loss of the season to Southern Miss. All of the matches ended 3-1 in favor of the Golden Eagles
• Stephany Purdue and Catherine Repsher, who dominated the regular season matches, combined for 20 kills and a .117 attack percentage
• This is the first time North Texas hasn’t made it out of the opening round of the C-USA tournament
Up Next For North Texas
Though being dealt a loss tonight ending its run in the C-USA tournament, the Mean Green will head west to compete in the Long Beach State tournament over Thanksgiving weekend. North Texas will play Long Beach State on Friday, Nov. 25, at 2 p.m. and UC-Irvine on Saturday, Nov. 26, at 3 p.m.