North Texas Garners Four All-Region Honors, Region Coach of the Year Award
Chamberlain, York, Milam, Teakell Headline All-Region Announcement
DENTON – The North Texas volleyball team placed a program-record four members on the 2017 AVCA All-Southwest Region team, as announced by the organization Tuesday. Additionally, Mean Green head coach Andrew Palileo was named the Southwest Region Coach of the Year.
“It goes back to the hard work and dedication they’ve put in since the last loss of 2016,” Palileo said. “They did a lot to build the team chemistry over the spring and the summer. The older players wanted to leave a legacy and they passed that down to the younger players. You see that in the four players that were honored with two seniors that have seen the ebbs and flows of the program and two rising players of the future.”
Senior middle blocker Amanda Chamberlain and junior setter Karley York were named to the all-region team, while senior middle blocker Holly Milam and freshman outside hitter Barbara Teakell picked up honorable mention all-region honors. The school had only two all-region selections prior to Tuesday's announcement.
“As a coach, when you go back and look at all the accomplishments we’ve had in one year, you feel good about what they team has done and everything they’ve put in,” Palileo said. “It’s really awesome to see the individual players get recognized, but I know these four would be the first to tell you how much of a team effort it was.”
It marks the second all-region nod for Chamberlain, who was named honorable mention all-region in 2016. The Lakewood, Calif., native finished sixth in Division I with a .436 hitting percentage, a single-season program record. A three-time Conference USA Offensive Player of the Week, Chamberlain led the team in kills (348), block solos (24), block assists (98) and total blocks (122).
York had a season for the ages, finishing fourth in Division I in total assists (1,441) and sixth in assists per set (11.80), while earning First Team All-C-USA honors and two C-USA Setter of the Week awards. The San Antonio, native tallied the fourth-most single-season assists in program history and single-season career-bests in kills (78), aces (32), block assists (44) and total blocks (46).
“It’s an incredible feeling that I obviously could not have accomplished without my teammates,” York said. “This year’s team was so special, and I’m so glad we had the season we all worked for and deserved.”
Milam capped her illustrious North Texas career with her first all-region selection. The Burleson, Texas, native leaves the school as the only player to accumulate 1,000 kills, 700 digs and 250 blocks in a career. Milam finished second on the team with 35 aces and third in block solos (8), block assists (58) and total blocks (66).
"I think it's great that four of us were honored," Milam said. "It just shows how special this team was and what all we were able to accomplish."
Teakell, the C-USA Co-Freshman of the Year, impressed in her first year in a Mean Green uniform with the fifth-best attack percentage (.263) by a North Texas freshman in the rally era (since 2001). The Celina, Texas, native had 262 kills, 167 digs and 28 blocks and picked up two C-USA Freshman of the Week honors.
This marks Palileo's second region coach of the year award after being named the Division II North Central Region Coach of the Year in his first year at South Dakota State in 2001, when he guided the Jackrabbits to the Division II National Championship match. In his fifth year at North Texas, Palileo led the Mean Green to numerous program milestones including best record (29-4), best conference record (13-1), longest win streak (16), best start to a season (12-1), best home record (15-2), first postseason victory and first appearance in the AVCA Coaches Poll.
“It’s awesome and I’m excited for it,” Palileo said, “but when a coach receives an award, it’s because of everyone around them. The administration for all the opportunities, including being able to play and host in the postseason, which was a great experience for myself and the players. The players’ dedication and commitment to the process. All of the staff’s hard work at each and every match.”
The Honolulu, Hawaii, native orchestrated the largest turnaround in program history from a 13-19 record in 2016 to a 29-4 mark in 2017, and the team rose 140 spots from the final RPI ranking of 2016, tied with Eastern Illinois for the second-biggest jump in NCAA. Palileo's squad placed a school-record five players on the 2017 All-C-USA teams, including three first-team members, another program record. The 2017 C-USA Coach of the Year, he has been named the conference coach of the year at each of his head coaching stops (North Texas, Washington State, South Dakota State, Bethel [Minn.]).