There was a good feeling among the UVU men’s volleyball team after they took third place at their latest tournament on Feb. 24 and 25.
Air Force went on to win the tournament, which UVU hosted in the Physical Education building. The other team that finished ahead of the Wolverines was a squad comprised of UVU alumni, some of which took third nationally last year.
Despite finishing third, the team is feeling great about the way they played and about their chances moving forward.
“We have discussed as a team several times what our goals and hopes are for this season,” Tyler Graff said, “some of which include winning the conference finals tourney March 9 at Air Force’s home court in Colorado.”
UVU had a lot to be positive about. They were helped out by great passing and serving, which kept the ball in play long enough for the team to make offensive plays. They also saw strong play from middle blockers Jared Ellsworth and Skylar Iverson.
“They were unstoppable and I would not hesitate to say they were the best and most effective middle blockers at that tournament,” Graff said.
An area where the Wolverines can look to improve is the mark of all great teams: consistency.
“We were on some games and off other games,” Reid Wicklund said.
The key to volleyball is often keeping the ball up and in play with good passing and serving. It is a team effort and UVU had it going in this weekend’s tournament.
“Our coach, Mike Daniels, can’t stress enough about these two aspects of volleyball,” Wicklund said.
The team has big shoes to fill after last year’s squad took third nationally. They understand that it is a day-by-day process and not something that can happen all at once. UVU set their goals for the season sky-high.
“We also want to compete for a national championship,” Graff said. “It continues to seem more and more realistic, but there is still work to be done. I have to admit we have had some pretty big shoes to fill with the previous season’s team taking third at nationals. And to be honest, at the beginning of the season we were not living up to that expectation. But we are starting to play and progress as a team. We are showing more commitment and teamwork. We are resilient and are not giving up. The main point being… We are getting better.”
By Nick Hefler