North Texas Daily

Volleyball has North Texas roots beyond university

Volleyball has North Texas roots beyond university

Head Coach Andrew Palileo speaks with the women's volleyball team during practice Wednesday. Meagan Sullivan | Associate Visuals Editor

Volleyball has North Texas roots beyond university
October 01
12:34 2015

Clay Massey | Staff Writer

@Clay_FC

North Texas volleyball coach Andrew Palileo does not have to travel far to find talent for his team.

The Dallas-Fort Worth area is home to a plethora of volleyball talent, many of which come from his own club team. Nine of the Mean Green’s 16 volleyball players on the roster come from within an hour and a half radius of their base in Denton.

Head coach Andrew Palileo attributes this to the talent in Texas.

“If you look at a lot of the big Texas school’s rosters, you’ll see a lot of them are made up of Texas players,” Palileo said. “We don’t have to go far to find our talent.”

Numbers seem to back up Palileo’s statement. The University of Texas at Austin, the only nationally ranked school in the state at No. 3, features 11 players from Texas. Seven of those players come within the same hour and a half radius of Denton.

Freshman outside hitter Hannah Shaw is from Joshua, Texas, which is about an hour and eighteen minute drive from Denton.

Shaw was a homeschool student back in Joshua and was contacted by former assistant coach Al Givens, who was part of Ken Murczek’s staff in his time coaching at North Texas from 2010 to 2012.

“Murczek recruited me from North Texas to try and play for Wake Forest,” Shaw said. “I knew North Texas through him, but I was offered on the very first phone call I had with Palileo.”

College programs find homeschooled players like Shaw by scouting club volleyball teams, since most volleyball players play high school volleyball along with club ball.

“When we’re recruiting a kid we like to watch them in high school and in club,” Palileo said. “Anytime we get the opportunity to watch the high school games, since our seasons are at the same time, we try to get out there during the high school matches.”

Palileo himself is a club volleyball coach. As head coach of North Point Volleyball Club, he uses many of his players from North Texas as coaches as well.

Two players who are now on the North Texas roster came through the North Point system: freshmen McKenzie Christopher and Alyvia Palileo, both alumni of Denton Guyer High School.

Christopher was very adamant in choosing North Texas to continue her athletic and academic career.

“I didn’t really look at any other school for volleyball other than UNT,” Christopher said. “Playing for Palileo on North Point got me familiar with UNT and the way he coaches. I stuck with him for two years and then he offered me a spot on the team.”

Christopher, a fashion merchandising freshman, was impressed by the university’s program for her degree. Even being so close to home, Christopher is getting the full college experience, partially because he lives on campus.

“It’s like I’ve created my own little world down here,” said Christopher. “By UNT it’s a whole different world. We never really went over that way living here, and my parents are far enough away that I only see them once a week or when they come to my games. I kind of wanted to go out of state, but I enjoyed playing under Coach Palileo.”

The North Point Volleyball Club has members Palileo hopes to bring up and be a part of his plans with North Texas in the future.

“You try to run the club to hopefully one day have one of the players come and make an impact on your college team,” Palileo said. “That’s why you do it.”

Featured Image: Head Coach Andrew Palileo speaks to the women’s volleyball team during practice Wednesday. Meagan Sullivan | Associate Visuals Editor

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