Freshmen Barbara Teakell, Valerie Valerian Join Mean Green Volleyball
Two Newcomers Enrolled In January
DENTON – The North Texas volleyball team is in the middle of its spring training as it gears up for exhibition games, and the team has two new faces on the court.
Freshmen Valerie Valerian and Barbara Teakell graduated high school early and joined the Mean Green at the semester break.
“It's been great having both players in early this spring,” head coach Andrew Palileo said. “The opportunity for Barb and Val to go through the adjustment period now as a collegiate student-athlete will be very beneficial to the program.”
Both had successful prep careers.
Valerian was named to the AVCA Under Armour All-America watch list and the Greater Houston Volleyball Coaches Association Fab 50 list as a senior, while earning the 2016 District 23-6A Offensive MVP.
As a sophomore, Teakell garnered Offensive Player of the District and Celina High School MVP honors. In her junior campaign, she repeated as Celina’s MVP, was first team All-District and earned a spot on the district's All-Academic team.
Teakell and Valerian, both 6-foot-1, will play outside hitter for the Mean Green, adding size to the front line attack for North Texas.
Teakell’s adjustment has been smooth, as she played for North Texas’ club team, North Point, under associate head coach Vinh Nguyen.
“Playing for coach Nguyen helped me get the bugs out in the transition from high school to college volleyball,” Teakell said. “It also allowed me to get to know the girls and be around the team, so playing for North Point really helped me adjust to the collegiate level.”
The adjustment has been a process for Valerian.
“It’s definitely been a different experience for me,” Valerian said. “The speed of the game and learning new skills has been a challenge, but I’m loving every minute of it.”
Though learning what it takes to play Division I volleyball is challenging, being away from home is another obstacle to overcome.
“Being on my own has been the biggest adjustment aside from volleyball,” Teakell added. “I come from a family of seven, so taking care of myself is a little different.”
But, the returners have helped ease the transition for the freshmen.
“The upperclassmen have been really helpful,” Valerian said. “They have taken us under their wing and have been great leaders.”
The freshmen will get their first taste of collegiate volleyball when the Mean Green play an exhibition match against SMU on Friday at 5:30 p.m.
“They have done a great job so far in adjusting to college life and the college game,” Palileo added. “The training and competing against the likes of Texas, Baylor, Oklahoma and SMU will get them ready for the fall season.”
2017 North Texas Volleyball Spring Schedule
Friday, March 24
at SMU – 5:30 p.m. - Dallas, Texas
Tuesday, March 28
at Baylor - 7 p.m. – Waco, Texas
Saturday, April 1
at Oklahoma – TBD - Norman, Oklahoma
Saturday, April 18
at Texas – 7 p.m. – Austin, Texas