Sophomore Carnae Dillard had 26 kills and 26 digs, but it wasn’t enough as North Texas lost in four sets — 25-16, 20-25, 25-21, 28-26 — Sunday at Tulsa in a match between undefeated teams in Conference USA play.
“I thought we battled hard,” UNT head coach Andrew Palileo said. “I also think we made too many mistakes to win on the road.”
The Golden Hurricane (14-4, 3-0 conference) controlled the first set from the beginning, but midway through the second set, the Mean Green found its rhythm when Palileo substituted junior setter Camille Cherry into the match. UNT (11-9, 3-1) used the momentum to comfortably take the second set.
Following the break, things got tight between the two unbeaten clubs during the third frame. With each team trading blows throughout, it was Tulsa that found the late-set magic to close it.
Neither team loosened up in the fourth set either as the Golden Hurricane and Mean Green found themselves tied 20 times in the set. But Tulsa pulled it out in extra points to claim the match.
“We have to sharpen up and be better on our serves,” Palileo said. “When we have the opportunity to make plays, we have to convert, especially on the road.”
North Texas returns to action at 7 p.m. Friday at home against C-USA rival Charlotte.
Colorado College 3, UNT 2
Colorado College notched three early goals and held off North Texas for a 3-2 victory in the Mean Green’s first trip to the Conference USA powerhouse in Colorado Springs, Colo.
Vanessa Ibewuike and Leah Cox fueled UNT’s comeback efforts, but the Tigers’ early 3-0 lead was too much to overcome.
The toughest road swing in C-USA proved a doozy for North Texas. The Mean Green (7-5-1, 1-2-1 conference) was looking to get the taste of Friday’s 4-0 loss at Rice out of its mouth, but got a bitter welcome from Colorado College (9-3-0, 4-0-0), which jumped out to a 3-0 lead just 28 minutes into the contest.
“We’re all disappointed in the result, but I’m pleased with the effort from everyone today,” UNT head coach John Hedlund said. “I thought we had the tying goal late, but give Colorado College credit. They’re a very good team, especially at home.”
Ibewuike turned the momentum to the Mean Green’s side with a goal in the 29th minute. Cox added to the comeback in the 78th minute when she flicked a Kelsey Hodges free kick into the net. That was as close as UNT would come, as the Tigers were able to hold off the Mean Green over the final 12 minutes.
UNT returns home to face UT-San Antonio at 7 p.m. Friday.