North Texas Daily

Mean Green setter takes next step as sophomore

Mean Green setter takes next step as sophomore

Mean Green setter takes next step as sophomore
September 02
00:31 2014

Kyle Youmans / Staff Writer

At this time last year, Mean Green setter Amy Henard was a freshman trying to find a role on the volleyball team. Now, as a sophomore, she has emerged one of the top setters in Conference USA.

Henard made an immediate impact on the UNT team during her freshman year by starting every game, along with being named to the C-USA All-Freshman team. She has now stepped  into a bigger role in her sophomore season. She is challenged with mentoring and being the example for this year’s inexperienced Mean Green squad.

“Last year I would kind of come in here and kind of like see what other people were doing,” Henard said. “If people were talking and chatting, I’d maybe talk and chat. But this year I know what I need to do to get prepared for a workout or practice.”

During her time at Brock High School, Henard was part of a team that went 45-3 and won a state championship. As a freshman last year, Henard vaulted into ninth place on the UNT all-time assists list. She said this year is easier because she now knows more about head coach Andrew Palileo’s system and what he expects out of her.

“Last year it was all about me figuring out what he wanted,” Henard said. “It’s a lot easier now to lead a group of young girls when you know exactly what coach wants.”

This year’s team has nine freshmen, which means Henard must help lead the young roster. However, since Henard is just one year removed from being a freshman, she can also relate to the newcomers.

“I think the older girls have done a very good job of mentoring all of them,” Palileo said. “Just walking them through what it’s like to be a student athlete on a daily basis, and Amy is a big part of that because she can relate the closest to them.”

Henard’s teammates say she is always responsible and ready to help at a moment’s notice. However, before practices Henard prefers to take some time to herself in order to get focused. Then, during practice, she shifts gears to become a vocal motivator and a catalyst for the team.

Junior outside hitter Carnae Dillard said Henard is like the mom of the team because she cares about her teammates.

“Amy is always doing what she can do for us, what she can do to make us better,” Dillard said. “On the court she is great at managing the team and making sure we are calm. She always puts our hitters in a good situation to put the ball in play which helps everyone as a whole.”

As a setter, Henard runs the offense just how a point guard would run an offense in basketball. She is constantly racking up assists by looking for the best matchups and offensive opportunities during each point. Through four games this season she already has 152 assists.

One thing Palileo said she has improved upon is her on-the-court demeanor.

“The way she takes coaching is good,” Palileo said. “Anytime you’re young like that and there’s a lot of expectations on you like there was last year, and again this year, it’s really important to be thick-skinned. The setter and coach relationship can always be iffy and she’s done a really good job with that.”

Last year, the Mean Green was only able to reach the C-USA Tournament quarterfinals. But this year, Henard looks to help improve that mark, as well as her own game, to try and take the team to the next level.

“I think the biggest thing is the decisions that I’ve made and being more efficient and putting the ball where I need to to the hitter that are being effective,” Henard said. “I think that’s the biggest part of this year.”

Featured Image: Sophomore setter Amy Henard sets the ball during the against Northwestern State University on Friday as a part of the North Texas Invitational. Henard accumulated 111 assists over the three-game weekend. Photo by Caitlyn Jones – Features Editor

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