The UVU volleyball has now played in four matches this year. Through them they have learned a few things.
One is that Chelsey Heaps is ready to step up in her senior campaign. She leads the team in kills, kill ratio, and is tied for second-most digs. She has stepped into her leadership role seemingly without difficulty.
Another is that youth is and will be dominating this years’ team. Eleven of the sixteen members of this years’ team are underclassmen, leading to heavy amounts of playing time for players like Brookelyn Campbell and Lindsay Barker, both of whom played significant minutes as freshmen.
Campbell has led the team in assists in every game, totaling 104 of the team’s 133 assists for the year. The next closest player is Chelsey Heaps, who has eight. Even playing sick Wednesday against the Slovenian national team, Campbell had 42 of the team’s 47. She also leads the team in digs with 35 and is second on the team with 14 blocks. Lindsay Barker is third on the team in kills, second in kill ratio, and third in digs. She has been playing with a hurt right arm that could slow her down but she is showing no signs of it affecting her too much.
Erica Nish, the lone junior on this team, is showing her all-round game as well. She leads team in serving aces, blocks, and is second in kills. Her game went to a different level Wednesday when she nearly doubled her kill total by notching 15 kills on the night.
“Brookelyn and I just had it going tonight,” Nish said.
Sarah Clement is the other senior on this team that has stepped up. She was named to the All-Tournament Team of the Wolverine Invitational along with teammate Chelsey Heaps. She is fourth on the team in kills, third in ratio, and first in blocks.
Shortly after Clement was named the Great West Conference Player of the Week.
One thing the team has struggled with so far are quick starts. In each of their matches they have had to overcome five-point deficits in at least one match. In most of their matches they have a hard time getting ahead early. Even against Cal St. Bakersfield, a team that went 0-31 last season, the Wolverines had to rally late in the last two games and fight off tie games well into the 20-point stage.
“If we can put it together early like we did in the third set [Wednseday], we will be a lot better,” Nish said.
One thing that might lead to quicker starts in the future is the return of senior outside hitter Jaicee Kuresa. In her season debut she had four kills, four digs and two blocks. Kuresa, the second-highest returning scorer from last year, might be back in time to help the Wolverines with their transition year.