North Texas shocked visiting Tulane on Sunday with a four-set victory and clinched a spot in the Conference USA tournament, winning by scores of 25-20, 15-25, 25-15, 27-25.
“A win like this puts us in a good spot for the season and the tournament going forward,” senior Karissa Flack said. “We need to use the same intensity we had in game four for the rest of the season because everyone is going to know about us now. UTEP and the rest of the teams are coming for us.”
The Mean Green (15-12, 7-4 conference) flew out of the gates and went on a 7-0 run to initiate the match. It wrapped up the first set comfortably before Tulane flexed its muscles and retaliated with a dominating set-two win.
In the third set, North Texas utilized its defense effectively to slow the Green Wave attack and easily won the third set.
“I think we relaxed in the middle of the sets and didn’t tighten up, and in the end, we were crisp and ready for them,” sophomore Carnae Dillard said. “We stayed focused and realized this was a big game for us. We knew we had to play hard and play for our seniors because their time is running out, so we just played for each other this game.”
Behind its newfound defensive prowess, the Mean Green bowed up to a furious Tulane comeback attempt in the fourth set. In the end, North Texas found the right recipe to hold off the late Green Wave (22-3, 8-2) surge and win its biggest match of the season.
“A win like this helps our confidence a ton because we know that Tulane hasn’t lost on the road,” freshman setter Amy Henard added. “They have had some great wins, and for us to pull it off and beat them, it is definitely a confidence boost for us.”
Dillard notched her 21st double-double of the season and senior captain Courtney Windham added 11 kills and seven total blocks. Junior Hanna Forst added 13 kills.
North Texas plays its final home match at 1 p.m. Sunday against UTEP.