Know thy enemy

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Photo by Jesse Sanchez

Fall is beginning to transition to winter in many ways, including Utah Valley University sports. The men’s and women’s basketball teams take the court for the first time this week and the men’s soccer team enters the conference tournament. UVU volleyball looks to close out the regular season strong at home.

The volleyball team wraps up the season at home this week against Grand Canyon and CSU Bakersfield. The Wolverines host the GCU Antelopes Thursday at 7 p.m. in the PE Gym. In the last meeting, UVU downed GCU three sets to one in Phoenix, Arizona. The hapless Lopes sit in last place in the WAC standings. Statistically, GCU is dead last in the conference in digs, so UVU should be able to control the kill column.

The Wolverines close out the regular season against the Roadrunners Saturday at 1 p.m. UVU claimed a contested five-set match in Bakersfield, California earlier this season. The ‘Runners surged after the loss to UVU and rattled off four straight wins, capped by a three sets to one victory at New Mexico State. Outside hitter Carol Grasso leads the WAC by averaging 3.85 kills per set.

After a final tune up against Western State Colorado University Monday night, the men’s basketball team will tip off the season Friday at 8 p.m. against the preseason No. 14 Gonzaga Bulldogs in Spokane, Washington. The reigning West Coast Conference champs started last season ranked No. 9, but fell out of the polls by mid-December. However, the Bulldogs recovered and made a run to the Sweet 16, where they lost to Syracuse.

The Bulldogs lost only four players from last season, including top-two scorers Kyle Wiltjer and Domantas Sabonis.

The women’s basketball team will kick off its season by hosting none other than the Cougars of BYU. Tipoff is scheduled for 7 p.m. Friday in the UCCU Center. This is the second year in a row the Wolverines will start the season playing BYU. Last year they fell in Provo, 78-62. Keeping the game competitive will be a task against a Cougar team that made an NCAA tournament appearance last season.

The men’s soccer team wrapped up the regular season in San Antonio, Texas against University of the Incarnate Word Saturday and starts play in the conference tournament Friday after a first-round bye.

UVU is hosting the WAC men’s soccer tournament at Clyde Field, which begins Thursday with the first match scheduled at 3 p.m.

Reporting by Brad Curnow, Kaleb Searle