North Texas Daily

Volleyball prepares for conference tournament

Volleyball prepares for conference tournament

November 12
21:13 2014

Kyle Youmans / Staff Writer

This week the Mean Green are set to play its final regular season matches before making the trip to Hattiesburg, MS where the team will compete in its second Conference USA tournament in school history.

“We are preparing to play three really quality teams,” head coach Andrew Palileo said. “It doesn’t matter what the draw is, you know you’re going to have to play some consistent and good volleyball in order to make a run deep into the tournament.”

Last season the Mean Green won its first round match of the tournament against Florida Atlantic University before falling to Marshall University in the quarterfinals.

This year, the conference changed the tournament format from twelve teams into an eight team, three-match path to the championship. To the currently fifth seeded Mean Green, this means that instead of playing a lower seeded team in the early rounds they will be the underdogs for most of the tournaments.

“This year is different because everyone has a different team,” junior outside hitter Carnae Dillard said. “Everyone is going to be out for blood this year and I expect to see more upsets than usual.”

This season is also different from last due to the large amount of underclassmen that are going to be competing in their first college postseason. Freshman middle blocker Holly Milam said she is expecting a tough tournament.

“I’m expecting a lot of competitive teams,” Milam said. “Everyone is out for one goal and no one wants t lose. I think the key for us is to keep the momentum that we have going and stay calm and disciplined on the court.”

Recently, the team is on a seven game winning streak and Dillard said team chemistry and staying focused have been keys.

“Focusing on what we are doing and not getting overwhelmed is key,” Dillard added. “As long as we keep our side of the court clean we can compete with anyone in the tournament.”

Palileo said the team isn’t going to change too much going into the tournament, considering how well the squad is playing.

“We are going to focus on what we have been doing,” Palileo said. “We will continue to feed off of our experienced players who are playing well and our younger players who are playing better. The end of the year is not the time in which you want to change your game plan especially when we are playing well.”

The tournament begins on Nov. 21, and if the team can win the title, it would be in position to clinch a berth in the NCAA tournament.

“Any team can get hot in a tournament,” Palileo added. “You only need to win three games. They will be three really tough games and it will take a team effort with everyone contributing in one way or another for three matches if we can get there. But we feel good about our chances.”

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