North Texas Daily

C-USA Breakdown: Volleyball has high aspirations

C-USA Breakdown: Volleyball has high aspirations

C-USA Breakdown: Volleyball has high aspirations
August 28
11:23 2013

 Nicholas Peterson / Intern

The Mean Green volleyball team begins their season by playing in the Loyola Marymount Invitational in Los Angeles. This will be the start of the grind leading up to conference play against unfamiliar opponents, as UNT makes the jump from the Sun Belt Conference to Conference USA this year.

The new look conference features four new teams from the Sun Belt and two from the Western Athletic Conference. These six additions offset the four teams who left C-USA for the Big East Conference.

UNT finished their run in the Sun Belt with a bang, finishing second in the conference tournament last season. In a Conference USA pre-season volleyball poll, the Mean Green is predicted to finish fourth.

“Yeah, we are capable of getting fourth, but we are going to show you that we are going to get first,” senior outside hitter Courtney Windham said.

Rice University is slotted to finish in first place and three-time defending Conference USA champion University of Tulsa finishing second. Tulsa received more first place votes than Rice but had more total votes.

University of Texas-San Antonio finished 21-9 in the WAC last season, showing up on the list ranked third. They are led by senior outside hitter McKenzie Adams, who was named C-USA preseason player of the year.

Head coach Andrew Palileo feels strongly that his team exhibits the mental toughness to help them adjust to the new conference.

“One of the unique things about this team is that there’s not one or two leaders on the court,” head coach Andrew Palileo said. “We have them in leadership committees and so we try and develop all of the players’ leadership skills.”

The players all feel the responsibility to lead, which is a characteristic of a team with the type of experience that UNT has. Even the team’s one freshman has shown maturity.

“We have great leadership across the board,” junior outside hitter Hanna Forst said. “We have our captains Eboni [Godfrey], Shelby [Tamura] and Courtney and they do a great job of leading, but also our freshman setter Amy [Hernard] has really stepped up. It’s just her personality.”

The UNT Mean Green volleyball team plays their first game against Loyola Marymount on Aug. 30.

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