HOUSTON — North Texas concluded its first day at the Flo Hyman Collegiate Cup with a 25-17, 25-20, 26-24 sweep of the host Houston Cougars on Friday.
“Give the girls credit for coming back from a tough loss earlier this afternoon,” UNT coach Andrew Palileo said. “I am happy with the way we controlled the match with some of the adjustments we made.”
In its early match, UNT faced LSU for the first time in a decade and fell 25-27, 25-11, 25-13, 22-25, 16-14.
“That’s a tough one to lose, especially when you battle back like that,” Palileo said.
Following two sets that saw the Mean Green in complete control, Houston gathered itself during the third set. Down 23-21, UNT rallied to close out the Cougars in straight sets.
“This win says a lot about us,” UNT senior Shelby Tamura said. “We realized after LSU that we needed to take care of our side of the net, and we made that adjustment, resulting in a big improvement from this morning’s match and a victory over a quality opponent.”
It took 20 years for this rematch between North Texas and Houston, but the Mean Green grabbed its second win over the Cougars with offensive efficiency and sound defensive technique at the net.
Carnae Dillard led UNT offensively with 15 kills, and Courtney Windham had 13. Freshman Amy Henard continued her success as the starting setter, recording 34 assists. Florida Atlantic transfer Chandler Hatton made her first start for the Mean Green.
Against LSU, UNT shocked the crowd at the Athletics/Alumni Center with its first-set victory, highlighted by a set-clinching hammer shot from Dillard.
The Tigers came back hard and pounded UNT in the second and third frames, but the Mean Green refused to fold in the fourth. Sparked by a rotation change, UNT forced a fifth set.
North Texas (7-7) will wrap its tournament run with a match against Baylor at 2:30 p.m. today.
TWU wins two matches
FORT SMITH, Ark. — TWU won both of its matches on the first day of the Mary Beth Sudduth Invitational. The Pioneers upset No. 11 Washburn 25-23, 25-17, 13-25, 25-21 before rallying past host Arkansas-Fort Smith 25-23, 22-25, 20-25, 25-17, 15-8.
The Pioneers (8-3) have won five straight matches.
Against Washburn, six Pioneers recorded seven or more kills, led by freshman Mallory Kuechle with 11. Courtnee Davis added nine while Chloe’ Tate and Jaqueline Santos had eight apiece. Marcela Alves and Josie Santos each finished with seven kills.
TWU posted a .219 hitting percentage, including a match-high .324 in the first set. The Pioneers’ defense stepped up at the net, recording seven solo blocks and 10 total team blocks.
TWU rallied from a 2-1 deficit against UAFS behind Josie Santos’ career-high 21 kills. Jaqueline Santos added 14 kills, while Alves had 13 kills and six block assists.
The Pioneers started out strong with a .306 hitting percentage in the first set but struggled offensively in the next two. TWU bounced back and held UASF to .000 hitting in the fourth and fifth sets.
“We knew going in that we are playing two very good teams and the girls were ready,” TWU coach Shelly Barberee said. “It was awesome competition and two big wins for us. Josie had an amazing day, especially against Arkansas-Fort Smith. She hit .395 with 21 kills and just four errors.”
Today, TWU will face Harding at 2 p.m. and Southern Nazarene at 6 p.m.
North Texas’ game at No. 13 Baylor was canceled Friday due to inclement weather in the Waco area and poor field conditions. No makeup date was announced.
The Mean Green’s home game against Oklahoma State still was expected to start at 1 p.m. Sunday.
North Texas (6-2-0) is tied with UAB for the best record in Conference USA and has taken down Big 12 opponents TCU and Oklahoma. UNT freshman Rachel Holden ranks third in the country with nine goals, while goalkeeper Haley Riley is third in the country with a save percentage of .952.