North Texas Daily

Volleyball can’t complete comeback, falls in fifth set

Volleyball can’t complete comeback, falls in fifth set

April 16
22:44 2013

Tim Cato / Senior Staff Writer

After dropping the first two sets, the Mean Green volleyball team roared back to tie Texas Women’s University but could not close out the game in the overtime set in yesterday’s spring season finale.

UNT (8-5) held a 9-5 advantage in the fifth set, but TWU fought its way back into the game (24-26, 20-25, 25-16, 25-14, 16-18). Up 16-15, the Mean Green failed to deliver a match-ending point and let the Pioneers score three straight to win.

“We kind of fell into that trap of playing a Division II school,” said head coach Andrew Palileo, who coached at Division II South Dakota State University for seven years. “I’ve seen it because I’ve been on the other half of it.”

The Mean Green started the first two sets slow, falling behind 8-3 in the first set and 7-1 in the second with plenty of mental mistakes. After having one or two weeks of practice between its first three tournaments, the team had only one day to prepare for TWU.

“The first two sets we weren’t really focused,” freshman outside hitter Carnae Dillard said. “It showed at the end and in the beginning.”

After a halftime talk with the coaches and a prolonged players’ huddle on the court, UNT displayed concentration and found a rhythm in the third and fourth set, winning both.

“Coach said we came out way too casual and we have a chance to start over and floor it the next three sets,” sophomore outside hitter Hanna Forst said. “That’s what I felt we did up until the end of the fifth set.”

Palileo, still adapting to the Mean Green program after being hired on April 3, managed the scrimmage differently than a regular season match, leaving players in the game regardless of how they were playing.

“I learned a lot about which players can handle pressure situations,” Palileo said. “When they get put in that moment naturally, I want to see who can handle that moment. We had a couple [players who] answered that today.”

Palileo also saw a lot of positives from his team, despite the sporadic play.

“We did some nice things,” Palileo said. “I like some of the shots they’re hitting now – the tip, the push, the shove down the line. They just bomb away and I want to see more arsenal, so when they do swing it’s good for them.”

The team will continue to practice until the end of the week, when the spring season officially ends.

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