The UVU volleyball team had a tough start to the season. Much of the difficult was because the first four games were on the road. The team currently stands at 1-3 after the most recent loss to Utah Tuesday night.
According to Head Coach Sam Atoa, playing at home on Tuesday night against in-state rival Weber State will come as a relief for the volleyball team. This isn’t to say that Weber State will be an easy match for Utah Valley, but it will be nice to have a home game under their belt at a critical time.
“It’s always good to be home. I mean, you’re in front of your fans and your friends,” Atoa said. “It’s great to be home, and it’s always been that the energy you have at home helps. This will give us a chance to play some great volleyball.”
To start off the season, the Wolverines attended the Wildcat Classic in Tucson, Ariz. Their first game came against Cal State Northridge where they came off with a 3-1 victory. The following two matches were losses against Evansville and a tough Arizona squad.
The Wolverines went into Utah knowing that the Utes were undefeated at 4-0 and that it would be an intense match. Utah Valley lost to the Utes 0-3 (18-25, 17-25, 19-25). Despite the loss, UVU didn’t fail to put up numbers. Lindsey Morrell was the leader with eight kills against Utah along with McKenna Tait with seven kills.
“I actually think we played yesterday better then we have been this past weekend, so I think we are improving,” Tait said on Wednesday night. “But we definitely are disappointed with losing. I think we are on our way to being better. Utah is a good team.”
UVU coaches and players feel like their team is on the rise even after a slow start to the season. Being such a young team with a single senior on the roster, Erica Nish, puts more leadership responsibility on the team’s juniors.
Morrell has successfully taken that leadership role as a junior while leading the team with 36 kills in their four games played.
“Well, it makes me want to be better and be a leader on the court,” Morrell said about being a junior. “Sometimes that comes with extra responsibilities so you have to make sure you prove it to yourself and your team at practice and everywhere you are.”
According to Atoa, the team needs to provide a strong effort to continue to win games on the road. The team is heavily preparing for Tuesday night’s first home game of the season against Weber State to witness that strong effort.
“We’ve got a lot of work to do,” Atoa said. “And we expect to bounce back.”