Talent and leadership key for lady spikers

Volleyball Preview

The women’s volleyball team will continue their tough scheduling this season, welcoming in the likes of the University of Michigan, Syracuse University, and BYU-Hawaii to the UCCU Center.  Scheduling difficult teams has more benefits than just having a recognizable name for the fans, according to head coach Sam Atoa.

“I believe it’s a good motivation for our team to challenge ourselves against nationally respected teams,” Atoa said.  “It’s a way to measure ourselves and see how we stand up.  I hope that it helps the players to want to play better and do their best.”

Although the Wolverines lost several key players to graduation, coach Atoa expects his seniors to show their leadership, and believes they will answer the call.

“We work well together and give a good effort,” Atoa said. “I believe that if we play how we are capable, then we should be just fine and have a good year.”

“I’m happy with what I’ve seen from our seniors, Rachel (Anderson), Sarah (Clement), Chelsey (Heaps), and Jaicee (Kuresa).  They have played good ball this spring and I expect them to continue to do well,” Atoa said.

Fortunately for Atoa, he won’t have to rely totally on seniors.  One bright spot during the spring and continuing into team practices for fall has been sophomore striker Brookelyn Campbell, out of Gilbert, Arizona.

“Brookelyn has played really well.  I have been impressed with her play and athleticism,”  Atoa said.  “She should continue to improve as she gets more playing time.”

Atoa emphasized the strength of the youth on the team, which includes four sophomores and five freshmen, stating he believes in their abilities.

“We have some others that haven’t had much of a chance previously that will get an opportunity this year,” Atoa said.  “There are several girls that have played very well, and if that continues they will continue to earn playing time.”

Last season the Wolverines finished with an impressive 21-11 record, winning a total of 72 sets to 46 lost and outscoring their opponents 2681-2458.  The responsibility to equal the success of last year offensively will fall in large part on the shoulders of UVU’s edition of a Heaps — not BYU’s Jake, but UVU’s Chelsea.

Heaps was second on the team in kills last year, trailing only Kayli Doxey.  Doxey led the team with 422 but Heaps was not far behind, tallying a commanding 294 kills.

All things considered, the Wolverines have a lot of ammo to work with.

“We work well together and give a good effort,” Atoa said. “I believe that if we play how we are capable, then we should be just fine and have a good year.”

By Jonathan Boldt – Asst. Sports Editor

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