North Texas Daily

Soccer, volleyball see differences in C-USA

Soccer, volleyball see differences in C-USA

Soccer, volleyball see differences in C-USA
October 22
23:33 2014

Jesse Brackeen / Intern Writer

Last season, the Mean Green soccer team lost in the Conference USA finals, while the volleyball team lost in the quarterfinals.

This season, both teams have looked to take the next leap in C-USA, despite other teams getting better.

Soccer

The soccer team has been a perennial contender during the tenure of head coach John Hedlund as he has yet to have a losing season. In the Sun Belt Conference, the team was consistently among the better programs, winning the conference in 2001, 2004, 2005, 2011 and 2012.  The team has continued its winning ways over the last two seasons and currently sits atop C-USA with a record of 11-4-1. In his second year in C-USA, Hedlund said he has noticed differences between it and the Sun Belt Conference.

“The Sun Belt there was always a few teams that you knew you were going to beat. This league is much tougher,” Hedlund said. “Every game is a battle, and if you don’t bring your A-game and finish chances in front of the goal, then you are going to find yourself with a bad result.”

The team holds a three point lead with three games remaining on the schedule. This Friday, the team faces the University of North Carolina – Charlotte, which sits in second place.

“This team that we are getting ready to play on Friday, Charlotte, has had some great results this year,” Hedlund said. “They were picked as preseason favorites. We know it’s going to be a tough game with them.”

Expectations are high for the team as the regular season nears completion. Junior goalkeeper Jackie Kerestine said the team’s goals go beyond just C-USA.

“We fully expect to go to the NCAA tournament,” Kerestine said. “Win the conference tournament and then go to the NCAA tournament.”

Volleyball

In its first season as a member of C-USA, volleyball finished 17-15. The team earned a fifth seed in the conference tournament, but was eliminated in the quarterfinals. This season the team is 13-9 but sits in seventh place due to a 4-5 record in conference play.

The team looks to improve on last year’s results, but has encountered an increased level of play from its opponents.

“The competition this year is definitely better than last year,” sophomore setter Amy Henard said. “There were a lot of new teams in the conference last year so everyone was getting used to each other. But this year it seems like the competition is on another level.”

Head coach Andrew Palileo said his main goal is to constantly improve against conference opponents.

“We are trying to establish a winning tradition here,” Palileo said. “All the teams have been tough for us, whether it’s on the road or at home. You know, obviously we were playing at a pretty good level.”

The team went on a three-game losing streak from Oct. 10-17 before getting back on track on Sunday with a win against Louisiana Tech University.

Senior outside hitter Hanna Forst said the Louisiana Tech game was a must-win, and now the team has eight games left this season. Only the top eight teams make the C-USA volleyball tournament, and Palileo said that they have to get better in C-USA to have a chance.

“We are battling to stay in the conference tournament race, but more so, I just want us to play well,” Palileo said. “I just want us to improve. I want us to feel like we are getting better as individual players as well as a team.”

Featured Image: Freshman middle blockers Holly Milam, left, and Chelsea Abii, middle, look to block the ball against Rice University on Oct. 1. The Mean Green lost in four sets. Photo by Ryan Vance – Staff Photographer

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