North Texas Daily

Mean Green volleyball to host Top-15 team during season opening weekend

Mean Green volleyball to host Top-15 team during season opening weekend

Mean Green volleyball to host Top-15 team during season opening weekend
August 28
15:33 2014

Scott Sidway / Staff Writer

The Mean Green volleyball squad begins their season this weekend by hosting the fourth annual North Texas Invitational Tournament.

Since the tournament’s inauguration in 2011, UNT has won the tournament only once, back in 2012. This year, the Mean Green will be hosting the No. 15 team in the country, the University of Missouri, in addition to Northwestern State University  and Mississippi Valley State University .

While some universities prefer to schedule less reputable programs to kick off a season, head coach Andrew Palileo says that he prefers the challenge of facing top-tier squads like Missouri early.

“Throughout the year, you just try to schedule to help prepare for your conference season,” Palileo said.  “And I think we have a pretty good non-conference season scheduled this year.”

Senior defensive specialist Eboni Godfrey agrees with her coach and said  the level of competition this weekend will make for some entertaining games.

“I think they’re going to be really fun games to watch,” Godfrey said. “And it’s also going to be really intense.”

Godfrey cannot wait to see the team’s hard work in practice translate to a real game.

“Going into the tournament, I feel that we have done so much preparation,” Godfrey said.  “We’re just really excited to see it all put together against someone else.”

The Mean Green  is infused with youth this season, consisting of nine freshmen and only three seniors. Junior outside hitter Carnae Dillard understands that there could be a learning curve with a large number of new players, but the main focus should be on executing their game plan and staying focused.

“I think the biggest challenge is just to make sure everyone has their A-Game on,” Dillard said.  “Just starting off strong and not paying attention to whose name is on the jersey – just playing.”

While Coach Palileo also recognizes the potential bumps in the road for such a young team, he believes that there is enough talent to  to play well this weekend.

“I think we can do well against all these teams, including Missouri,” Palileo said.  “They’re a great team and they had a great season last year.  But this is a new season.”

The tournament kicks off for the Mean Green in Denton on Friday night at 7:00 p.m against the Northwestern State Demons.

Featured Image: Sophomore setter Amy Henard sets up the ball for her teammate in practice on Tuesday at the North Texas Volleyball Center. Photo by Caitlyn Jones – Features Editor

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