North Texas Daily

Nonconference schedule prepares soccer and volleyball programs

Nonconference schedule prepares soccer and volleyball programs

October 09
11:35 2013

Akshay Mirchandani / Staff Writer

After 26 nonconference games between the Mean Green soccer and volleyball teams, each squad began competition against Conference USA opponents two weekends ago.

But even though playing well in the conference match-ups will ultimately judge whether a team makes postseason or not, the nonconference schedule is very important to each Mean Green team’s success.

The Mean Green volleyball team’s 3-1 conference record ties the team for third out of 15 C-USA teams, and it’s evident that the nonconference schedule helped the squad’s quick start.

“We saw a lot of good teams. We’ve seen the bigger, more physical teams that we’ve had to play against, so it has taught us how to be smarter players,” head coach Andrew Palileo said. “It has helped us the most with teaching our kids how to be smarter and to play at a higher level.”

Many of the volleyball players refer to nonconference as the preseason, which Palileo said emphasizes preparation for conference play and garners the team some respect.

“When teams see our schedule, they see we had a hard schedule and how we did against those teams,” sophomore outside hitter Carnae Dillard said. “It could put a little shake in their boots just knowing who we played, and that we are a good team and we can compete.” 

With lofty goals ahead of them, a challenging nonconference schedule helps the soccer team prepare.

“It puts a little bit more stress on us as players to do well in conference,” senior soccer defender Tori Adame said. “We ultimately want another title and our first season in Conference USA is a huge deal for us because we want to come in and be the first team at North Texas to win a Conference USA title.”

The Mean Green soccer played highly ranked opponents like Wake Forest University and Oklahoma State University during their nonconference schedule – an experience Adame said was beneficial.

“Nonconference in general kind of helps us figure out where everyone fits in on the team and how we should play,” Adame said. “It allows us to try new things, especially this season with the schedule that we had it helped us realize that we could play at the top level.”

But even with a 6-3 nonconference record, the UNT soccer team must continue its strong play into conference. After losing to the first- and second-ranked teams in the conference last weekend, the team’s conference record sits at 1-2-1.

The players agree it’s important to play tougher opponents in nonconference play.

“It helped our level of play. Starting off at a really high level is going to help us in conference since all those teams were really good,” Adame said. “Now it’s going to be easier for us in conference.”

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