North Texas Daily

Volleyball looks to correct struggles on the road

Volleyball looks to correct struggles on the road

Volleyball looks to correct struggles on the road
October 20
23:57 2014

Kyle Youmans / Staff Writer

The last time the Mean Green volleyball team won a road game was on Sept. 26. Since then, the team is 1-4 on the road. It has experienced struggles at away games for a while.

“When you’re at home you always tend to draw your energy and emotion from the home crowd,” head coach Andrew Palileo said. “You just don’t get that kind of support on the road.”

Over the past four seasons, the Mean Green is 17-27 away from home. Senior outside hitter Hanna Forst has been through three years of road struggles with the team and said she now knows what it takes to win away games.

“You have to go into road games with 10 times more energy than you have to go into a home game with,” Forst said. “Everyone is excited to play at home, but you have to maintain that energy on the road.”

Even though the team still has trouble at away games, Palileo has improved the team from a 3-8 road mark last season to an even 4-4 away record with just one more trip left in the season. That single road trip, from Oct. 31 to Nov. 7, includes matches against Middle Tennessee State University, the University of Alabama-Birmingham and Rice University.

“We know that those teams are playing well this time of year,” Palileo said. “We need to take care of business here at home before we go on the road. That is really our primary focus.”

If the Mean Green is able to win two of the last three road matches, it will be the first road-winning record since 2006 when it finished 7-5 on the road.

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Freshman middle blockers Holly Milam, left, and Amanda Chamberlain prepare to block the ball against the Rice University on Oct. 1 at home. The Mean Green lost in four sets.

Freshman middle blocker Amanda Chamberlain said it is more than just the difference in crowds that makes playing away games so difficult.

“I think it is errors on the road that bring us down in crucial parts of the game,” Chamberlain said. “At home, you can recover, but on the road it is tough because it messes up the mojo.”

The Mean Green started the season 3-1 on the road, and even swept the Texas State tournament in San Marcos from Sept. 5-6. As the season went on, the team lost three straight conference road games before beating Louisiana Tech University on Sunday afternoon.

“We used to have the mentality of beating, going in and embarrassing them at their place,” Forst said. “But since then, we really have lost that kind of focus and mindset. Hopefully, we can gain that back and keep that mentality for the rest of the season.”

Whether or not the team is on the road or at home, the Mean Green is outside of the top eight in the conference, which would keep the team out of the conference tournament if the season were to end today. For this reason, all the games left on the schedule are important to a team that is trying to make the postseason.

“We are doing better,” Palileo said. “But we have to continue to get better and realize that the travel, not sleeping in your own bed and the crowd are all factors that we have to overcome to be successful.”

Featured Image: Freshman outside hitter Chelsea Abii tips the ball against Rice Univeristy on Oct. 1. Abii had seven kills for the game along with one dig. Photos by Ryan Vance – Staff Photographer

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