North Texas Daily

Volleyball starting spring workouts without former perennial player

Volleyball starting spring workouts without former perennial player

March 29
11:22 2016

Torie Mosley | Staff Writer

@toriemosley

Mean Green volleyball is back in action since the Conference USA tournament in November.

The team has held spring workouts for 20 hours each week for the last three weeks with two more remaining.

“They lift Monday, Wednesday and Fridays,” head coach Andrew Palileo said. “Then they work out and do open gym after their lifts.”

Palileo released North Texas’ spring volleyball schedule earlier this month, giving the squad its first home game last Thursday in front of its fans in Denton since before Thanksgiving. The team squared off against Southern Methodist University.

Palileo said he puts the spring schedule together based on the team’s fall schedule. The Mean Green fell to the Mustangs in straight sets last time they played in October, putting its DFW rival first on the teams the coach wanted to see his team get a rematch against.

North Texas got its revenge.

“There was a little method there,” Palileo said. “They hammered us last year at their place, so it was good to see us come out against them with a big win.”

North Texas came out firing and never ceased to let up on SMU throughout the match, winning in straight sets. The team even played SMU an extra fourth set and won that one as well.

“Last spring we didn’t have the same start so it’s nice seeing a progression,” junior setter Amy Henard said. “We’ve been working pretty hard, so it’s nice seeing us progress from the beginning of the season and the beginning of the spring being a little rusty and then now to see how it’s all coming together in the end with people in new positions and lineups.”

North Texas senior setter Amy Henard (12) bends down to dig for a ball during a spring match against Southern Methodist University. Dylan Nadwodny | Staff Photographer

North Texas senior setter Amy Henard (12) bends down to dig for a ball during a spring match against Southern Methodist University. Dylan Nadwodny | Staff Photographer

Mean Green alum and senior Carnae Dillard attended the spring game, watching from the crowd as a fan for the first time since playing four years for North Texas. The school’s all-time kills leader said it was a bittersweet feeling watching from the stands instead of being on the court.

“I wish I could be out there, but they’re doing great without me,” Dillard said. “I practice with them all the time, and seeing them grow as a team without me is really great.”

Dillard and Henard connected on most of the alum’s career kills for the Mean Green. The former North Texas outside hitter said seeing how Henard connects with the players filling in for Dillard will be great to see.

“Amy can do it all,” Dillard said. “With players like Amanda [Chamberlain], Alexis [Wright] and Holly [Milam], she has so many options.”

Henard also said she notices the difference on the court minus Dillard.

“It’s so weird for me,” Henard said. “After playing for three and a half years with her, it’s definitely different. But I love our team and who we have on the court too, and I think we’re going to do great.”

Replacing the Mean Green’s all-time kills leader won’t be an easy task, but Henard said she thinks the team will be just fine with the talent remaining on the roster.

“I don’t think it’s going to be one person we can replace her with,” Henard said. “It’s going to be a full team effort to spread the ball around and be versatile throughout our offense.”

It may take some time for North Texas to become familiar with the new lineups and rotations as the spring unravels. But according to Palileo, so far, so good for his new squad.

“We were trying a couple different lineups to see how well we do,” Palileo said. “I felt like we did some really good things even with everyone learning new things on the court. Overall I’m pleased at where we’re at in our progression.”

Featured Image: The North Texas women’s volleyball team celebrates after scoring a point in a spring game against Southern Methodist University. Dylan Nadwodny | Staff Photographer

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