Brady Keane | Staff Writer
After picking up a win in the season opener against Winthrop, the North Texas volleyball team dropped their next two games on their way to a 1-2 finish in the Tiger Invitational.
In starting off the season with a win, head coach Andrew Palileo picked up his 40th career victory with the Mean Green.
“Maintaining success is always a good thing, and I was able to continue the success that was here when I got here,” Palileo said. “I’m excited about it and I’ve had pretty good teams in my time here. Hopefully we can keep it rolling.”
Despite a strong showing from both senior Carnae Dillard and freshman Hannah Shaw in the opening win, the Mean Green (1-2) failed to carry the momentum throughout the rest of the tournament.
After opening Saturday morning with a two set lead on North Dakota State (2-1), the Mean Green could not capitalize on the opportunity and ultimately lost in five sets. The loss overshadowed what was a strong statistical showing from the North Texas captains, as Dillard racked up 30 kills and junior Amy Henard tallied 46 assists.
“I think we know that we just have to keep our heads up and move on,” Henard said. “We have to move on quickly instead of dwelling on our mistakes. We learned a little bit about our weaknesses throughout the tournament, and that will help us moving on.”
The Mean Green’s final game of the tournament was a matchup with Missouri (3-0), which began with an exciting, back-and-forth first set.
The Tigers took an early lead on North Texas, but strong play from Dillard and sophomore Chelsea Abii brought the set within striking distance at 21-20. However, Missouri bounced back from the late rally and went on to win the set and the match by a final count of 3-0.
Dillard finished the match with 14 kills, Henard added 24 assists, and freshman Alex Janak and sophomore McKenna Thornlow led the way with 7 digs each.
The Mean Green will have a short break to bounce back from the tournament before they face-off against UT-Arlington on Sept. 2.
Featured Image: Senior Carnae Dillard hits a ball off her forearm to pass to a setter. Courtesy | North Texas Athletics