21 is a magic number

The number 21 is magic. It means Blackjack in the gambling world. It’s the age teenagers supposedly turn into adults. Twenty-one is also a magic number for the women’s volleyball team. Why? That is the number of wins the team is shooting for this season.

“We feel like we are able to get 21 wins,” said head coach Sam Atoa.

The team set the goal at the start of the season and believes it is possible. Atoa called the goal a “longshot,” but believes his team is capable of achieving it.

“It’s very do-able,” Atoa said. “It’s something we expect to work very hard at.”

After a rocky start at 1-3, the Wolverines were able to win five of their next six games, including a win versus in-state foe Weber State at home on Sept. 4. They suffered a tough defeat against Southern Utah on Tuesday, snapping a four game winning streak.

“We weren’t meshing,” said junior Brooklyn Hall. “But now we are.”

This is one of the youngest teams the Wolverines have had in recent years and it showed early on, but the team has improved their level of play, especially on the road where they have a record of 5-5.

“Our chemistry has improved,” Hall said. “And the younger players have more experience.”

Not only has the team hit its stride winning five out of their last seven games, four of their five wins have been on the road in tough environments. They have only played one game at home so far, a victory versus Weber State. Atoa believes his team is learning a lot from playing so many early road games.

“Going on the road is a different experience,” Atoa said. “When you got people yelling at you, it’s a hostile environment. It’s just part of the game. I think that if we can get mentally tough doing that on the road, we should be able to handle things at home.”

Starting on Oct. 13, the Wolverines will play eight of their next 11 games at home. If they are able to take care of business at home, they will be in a great position to reach the coveted 21-win mark they set for themselves at the beginning of the season.

The Wolverines took down the University of Nevada on Sept. 14, a significant win for Atoa. That win gave him 300 wins as a coach at UVU. When asked if there was any significance to the win, he said, “There’s none.”

UVU will host New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT) on Oct. 13 at 1:00 p.m. That will be their first home game since Sept. 4.

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