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Mean Green volleyball gears up for C-USA tournament

Mean Green volleyball gears up for C-USA tournament

Jr. Chelsea Abii (8) spikes a powerful blow, scoring on the opponent. The UNT volleyball team won the second and third sets, but lost the match overall to Marshall University Friday night, 3- 2. Katie Jenkins.

Mean Green volleyball gears up for C-USA tournament
November 07
13:42 2016

North Texas volleyball secured its spot in the Conference USA tournament for the fourth year in a row Sunday after defeating Louisiana Tech University 3-1 in Denton. The Mean Green (12-15, 6-6) have two more regular season matches this week before the three-day tournament begins Nov. 18 in Houston.

This will be a single-elimination style tournament with eight out of 13 C-USA teams competing. The top four teams at the end of regular season play receive a first-round bye. As it stands, Western Kentucky University leads the conference with an undefeated record of 13-0 while the University of Texas at San Antonio, Marshall University and the University of Southern Mississippi follow with 9-3 records.

C-USA superlative awards and all conference teams will also be announced prior to the tournament such as Coach of the Year and Player of the Year, which former North Texas player Carnae Dillard received each of the past two seasons.

This year, North Texas will be the No. 7 seed. Last season, they were the No. 4 seed with a 20-13 overall mark.

It is uncertain right now who the Mean Green will face in the first round. But one thing is clear — whoever it is, North Texas will be ready.

“Every year you have different parts of the season that we plan for,” head coach Andrew Palileo said. “We have two more [games] to finish out the conference season and then we’ll go into our goals for the conference tournament, then hopefully we can make a run.”

In C-USA, North Texas ranks towards the middle in kills, assists and hitting percentage. In blocks and service aces the Mean Green are ranked 10th and 11th respectively. North Texas’ record is also not favorable for away games.

The Mean Green have won only four road or neutral matches out of 12 this season, with two more still to come. North Texas will face Western Kentucky and Middle Tennessee State University later this week before the tournament begins.

Despite this, the Mean Green are excited to take part in the postseason action.

“It means a lot to me because we’ve gone to the tournament every year since I’ve been here,” senior setter Amy Henard said. “If we didn’t go my senior year I would be really upset. It definitely means a lot to me and we still have some work to do to prepare for the conference tournament.”

For the four freshman on the roster, this will be their first time playing in a collegiate tournament. But the Mean Green women are all looking forward to the experience no matter the outcome.

“Just going in since we have only one senior, Amy, we are looking forward to bringing it and playing for her and making her proud,” freshman middle blocker Emma Eakin said.

Henard, on the other hand, has more lofty priorities.

“Making it to the championship round would be my ultimate goal because we always lose in the semi-finals,” Henard said. “But just taking every moment in, since it will be my last [tournament] and not trying to wish it away by being in the moment is what I want.”

Featured Image: University of North Texas junior Chelsea Abii (8) spikes a powerful blow, scoring on the opponent. The UNT volleyball team won the second and third sets, but lost the match overall to Marshall University Friday night, 3- 2. Katie Jenkins

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Courtney Anderson

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