BOWLING GREEN, Ky. — North Texas advanced to the semifinals of the Sun Belt Conference tournament for a third straight year with a 25-21, 25-23, 23-25, 25-22 win over Middle Tennessee on Thursday.
The victory ties the No. 3 seed Mean Green (24-11) with the historic 1995 NCAA tournament team for the second most wins in school history, and scores a measure of revenge against the Blue Raiders — the team that eliminated North Texas from the last two Sun Belt Conference tournaments.
MTSU was the No. 6 seed in the eight-team tournament.
UNT will now take on No. 2 Troy at 4 p.m. today for the right to advance to the Sun Belt title match, a milestone Mean Green has never reached.
Troy hit .306 in downing UNT in October in Troy.
Sun Belt Freshman of the Year Carnae Dillard led the Mean Green with 22 kills, while a match-high 17 digs from Shelby Tamura helped throw off MTSU (10-23) just enough.
The Blue Raiders hit .203 as a team, but couldn’t keep up with the Mean Green’s .236 attack percentage.
After dropping the third set, Eboni Godfrey sent back the set-tying block, and Dillard gave UNT its first lead of the fourth frame at 14-13 with a service ace.
The Mean Green kept it going and didn’t stop until Karissa Flack gave UNT match point.
A Blue Raiders attack error ended the set and gave the Mean Green the victory.
Joining Dillard in double-figure kills were Courtney Windham (13) and Flack (11).
Windham and Dillard teamed up this year to become the first UNT duo to ever earn first-team all-conference selections in the same season.