Palileo Picks Up 300th Career Victory
North Texas Opens Up Conference USA Play With 3-2 Win At UTEP
North Texas vs. UTEP Box Score
EL PASO, TX--Head coach Andrew Palileo reached the 300 career win milestone, Friday night, as the Mean Green defeated UTEP in five sets to open up Conference USA play with a victory. North Texas improves to 10-4 on the season.
"It was great getting the win tonight with this team," Palileo said. "Any time you reach success like this, it's evident that I have surrounded myself with great teams, players, and coaches along the way."
Palileo stepped into the way back machine walking into Memorial Gym, his first career victory as a Division I head coach came against UTEP nearly a decade ago right here in El Paso. At the helm for South Dakota State, Palileo led the Jackrabbits to a 3-2 win in September of 2004. On this night, the win for Palileo would come just as tough.
"We started out slow but managed to level our game off," he added. "That's a typical story for a conference road match. We were fortunate enough to come out with the win in that environment."
North Texas, after a .395 team hitting performance in the first set, seemed to hit a lull in the second frame. UTEP capitalized on 10 errors and a dismal 0.051 attack percentage to take set two from the Mean Green, evening things up at one all headed into the break.
Leading 2-1 after a dominating set three victory, North Texas looked poised to cruise to the big road victory. However, the Miners battled back, fighting off four consecutive match points to take set four and force a fifth and deciding set.
In the final frame, no one looked as calm and composed as junior outside hitter Carnae Dillard. The two-time C-USA offensive player of the week came out hot in the final frame, leading North Texas to its first 6 points on 5 kills and a service ace. With the team on Dillard's back, the Mean Green put to rest any chance of falling victim to its second straight letdown loss. North Texas cruised to a 15-12 final tally, taking the match 3-2. Dillard finished with 24 kills and 18 digs, good for her 10th double-double of the season.
The Mean Green is now 5-7 all-time against the Miners and improves to 10-4 on the season, breaking up the three game losing skid.
"We're going to have to play better against defending champion UTSA. We'll get back to practice tomorrow and work on the things we need to work on, and be ready to go come Sunday," Palileo concluded.
North Texas looks to continue its streak of undefeated conference opening weekends, that dates back to the 2011 season, when they travel to San Antonio to take on defending Conference USA champion UTSA Sunday at 1 p.m inside the Convocation Center.
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