Volleyball Claims North Texas Challenge With Pair Of Victories
Mean Green Sweep New Orleans, Campbell in Straight Sets
DENTON - The Mean Green volleyball team won both its North Texas Challenge matches on Saturday to clinch the title with a 3-0 record over the weekend. North Texas defeated New Orleans and Campbell in straight sets. Junior setter Karley York was named the tournament MVP and was joined on the all-tournament team by seniors Amanda Chamberlain and Holly Milam.
North Texas dominated from the service line in a 3-0 (25-14, 25-15, 25-15) win over New Orleans on Saturday morning. The Mean Green finished with eight aces, and Milam led the way with three.
"I thought we came out a little slow, so we talked about speeding it up a little bit with our serves," North Texas head volleyball coach Andrew Palileo said.
Milam recorded two of her three assists in the opening set, along with a team-high five kills and two block assists. She posted her third kill of the set and the two aces on straight plays to cap a 7-1 run and give the Mean Green a 15-8 advantage. Milam's fourth and fifth kills extended the lead to 23-14, followed by freshman outside hitter Valerie Valerian's fourth kill of the set to set up set point. The Privateers' seventh attack error of the frame sealed the set for North Texas.
"It's all about team chemistry and being confident that other people are going to do their jobs, so you can do your job and not worry too much," Milam said.
The Mean Green's pressure from the service line was prevalent in the second set with four aces during an 13-2 run that gave North Texas a 23-11 lead. Junior defensive specialist Alyvia Palileo entered the game with the score at 12-9 and attempted nine straight serves, recording a pair of aces. After Milam posted her ninth kill, she followed up with her third ace. Junior setter Karley York, who finished with 34 assists, had the fourth ace.
"We do a lot of practicing and different game planning with our serving," Andrew Palileo said. "I want us to be aggressive and put them in a position where we can set the block."
In the final set, sophomore middle blocker Emma Eakin came off the bench and posted five kills, including three of the team's first four kills. Valerian also had five kills in the frame on her way to a team-high 11 kills. Eakin's final kill set up match point, which was earned on New Orleans' seventh attack error of the set.
The Mean Green capped off the tournament with a 3-0 (25-23, 25-18, 25-21) victory over Campbell on Saturday night. After committing eight errors in the first set, North Texas was able to minimize its mishaps in the final two sets and hold off the Camels.
"We showed how tough we are as a team and how good we are at home," said York, who was named the tournament MVP.
York showed her versatility as a setter in the first set, finishing with a kill, two aces, two digs and a block assist. She orchestrated a 7-1 Mean Green run, beginning with a kill to knot the game at 9-9. York attempted seven straight serves with two aces to give North Texas a 15-10 lead. She capped off the set with her 14th assist of the frame on an Alexis Wright kill.
"She's doing what she's supposed to be doing as far as leading the team," Andrew Palileo said. "She's been really consistent with what I want her to do."
Chamberlain led the team with five kills on as many attempts in the second set. Her kills came at opportune times, tying the game on three occasions. Two of her kills came in a 10-1 run for the Mean Green to close out the set after falling behind 17-15.
"I had to work my different shots and mix it up a little bit," Chamberlain said.
While Chamberlain led the squad in kills in the final set with three, the third set was more of a balanced effort as six girls combined for 12 kills. With the score knotted at 3-3, the Camels rattled off a string of seven attack errors to give North Texas a 13-7 advantage. Chamberlain posted two crucial kills late in the set to make it 23-20, and Valerian sealed match point for the Mean Green with her sixth kill of the night.
North Texas hits the road to compete in the Mississippi State Invitational on Sept. 15 and 16 in Starkville, Miss. The Mean Green will face Southeastern Louisiana at 10 a.m. on Sept. 15.
With her fifth kill in the first game, Milam passed Courtney Windham for 10th in school history in career kills (905).
Chamberlain made her 100th appearance in a North Texas uniform against New Orleans.
The Mean Green have won 12 straight sets since losing the opening set to Boston College on Sept. 2.
Alyvia Palileo tied a career high with her pair of aces against New Orleans.
North Texas is undefeated in tournament play this season (8-0).