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High school teammates BrynCaitlin Walker and Karley York reunited at North Texas

High school teammates BrynCaitlin Walker and Karley York reunited at North Texas

High school teammates BrynCaitlin Walker and Karley York reunited at North Texas
September 27
17:24 2016

For many, starting college can be an overwhelming and scary experience. With new people, new buildings and a different atmosphere, the transition is often eased with the help of friends.

That is exactly what happened on the North Texas volleyball team.

Freshman outside hitter BrynCaitlin Walker joined the Mean Green after being introduced to UNT by former and current teammate, sophomore setter Karley York. Walker and York both attended Churchill High School in San Antonio, where for two years they were varsity teammates, making it to the state tournament and forming a bond.

“Our high school team’s program was very family-like and disciplined,” Walker said. “I knew if Karley liked it here, it would most likely be a good fit for me as well.”

York was first spotted by head coach Andrew Palileo’s former assistant two years ago. Once she was brought to his attention, Palileo knew York was the setter he would target.

“We were looking for a setter for 2015 and the assistant coaches are always out looking and identifying players,” Palileo said. “We followed Karley for a little bit and I decided she would be a good fit for this team.”

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Karley York, left, and BrynCaitlin Walker, came from San Antonio together to play Mean Green volleyball together. Hannah Breland

During York’s first year with North Texas, she earned a spot on the Conference USA commissioner’s honor roll and notched a career-best 43 assists against Abilene Christian University – a record she broke earlier this season.

For Churchill head volleyball coach Jo Anne Hultgren, the success her former players are experiencing comes as little surprise.  While at Churchill, Hultgren said, the tandem’s passion and dedication was unmatched.

“I remember [Karley] because of her drive,” Hultgren said. “She would never stop pursuing a ball. She would run into walls, the score table, people, just everything. She just would never stop going for the ball. BrynCaitlin was such a hard working individual. They both were.”

In just half a season, Walker has already made an impact on the team, and become a very integral part of the offense. In her NCAA debut, Walker set her career-high with 16 kills and 39 attack attempts.

With Walker being thrust into a starting position early in her career, York knew she could use some tactics from high school to the team’s advantage.

“I already know what kind of sets she likes,” York said. “I know she is as an all-around person and player, so I see it as an advantage for us and the team.”

Despite the duo being teammates in high school, Palileo sees that as nothing more than a happy coincidence. In fact, it was not until Walker attended a Mean Green volleyball camp that the coaching staff decided to make her an offer.

For Walker, though, there was one thing in particular that convinced her to come to Denton.

“The [team] I guess you could say, as cheesy as it sounds, sold it to me the most,” Walker said. “They all were just so nice and welcoming to me, and just had a lot of fun.”

With York’s success luring Walker out of high school, Palileo acknowledged sometimes it is not the coaching staff that makes the best recruiters, but the players themselves.

“Our best recruiters are always the ones that are playing for us,” Palileo said. “[They] go home and talk about the experience they are having here. That’s why we try to make sure our players have the best experience they can.”

Featured Image: BrynCaitlin Walker, left, and Karley York came from San Antonio together to play volleyball for the Mean Green. Hannah Breland

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Courtney Anderson

Courtney Anderson

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