The North Texas volleyball team was picked to finish fourth in Conference USA’s preseason coaches poll that was released Thursday, when two of UNT’s top players were named to the league’s preseason all-conference team.
Carnae Dillard, a junior outside hitter, and Amy Henard, a sophomore setter, were among the 13 players to receive preseason All-C-USA honors.
UNT will lean heavily on both this fall, when its roster of 16 players will include 10 freshmen. The Mean Green will open the season Aug. 29 when it hosts Northwestern State in the North Texas Invitational.
“Carnae and Amy had a good year last year,” UNT coach Andrew Palileo said in a statement. “We will be counting on both of them to lead and develop a young but talented group of freshmen.”
Texas-San Antonio, the defending C-USA regular-season and tournament champion, was picked to win the league. Western Kentucky was projected to finish second after moving over from the Sun Belt, while Rice was picked third.
Noelle Langenkamp, a middle blocker at Western Kentucky, was named the preseason player of the year.
UNT finished in a tie for fourth with Marshall and Middle Tennessee last fall in its first season in C-USA. The Mean Green fell to the Thundering Herd in the quarterfinals of the conference tournament.
Dillard and Henard played key roles in the Mean Green’s solid first season in C-USA. Dillard was a first-team All-C-USA selection as a sophomore, when she ranked fourth in C-USA with an average of 4.19 kills per set. Henard averaged 10.55 assists per set to rank fifth in the league.
The Mean Green has several key players to replace. Courtney Windham led C-USA with 1.22 blocks per set as a senior and signed a contract with a pro team in Germany, while fellow senior Karissa Flack ranked seventh in the league with a .341 hitting percentage.