Photo by Byron Harward
School is back in session and the women’s volleyball team is hungry to get back out on the court. Following last season’s opening-round loss in the Western Athletic Conference Tournament, the team is looking to turn things around in 2016. Head coach Sam Atoa is optimistic that the Wolverines will do just that.
“Our returning kids have embraced the challenge to step up and be their best,” Coach Atoa said.
The Wolverines will be tested right out of the gate, as they open the year against No. 13 ranked BYU in Provo, Utah as part of the BYU Invitational Aug. 26 at 7 p.m. In last season’s matchup against the Cougars, UVU lost in three competitive sets.
“It’s a pretty tough match to start off the season with, but we are excited for the challenge,” Coach Atoa said. “We are excited to be home that weekend in the valley, not having to travel far and being able to sleep in our own beds, it will be a tough tournament but we are excited for what lies ahead.”
The following day, UVU will conclude the BYU Invitational with matches against the Cal Poly Mustangs and Rice Owls.
Upon returning back to Orem, UVU will play their home opener against the Idaho State Bengals Tuesday Aug. 30, before hosting the Wolverine Invitational September 2-3. The Wolverines will have a number of chances to prove to the rest of the conference just how good they are. In addition to their date with No. 13 ranked BYU, the team heads to Manoa, Hawai’i to take on sixth-ranked Hawai’i and seventh-ranked Washington. Regardless of what transpires against powerhouses such as these, the message is clear: UVU isn’t afraid to play anyone at any time. Such difficult matchups will ultimately only help the Wolverines as they prepare the conference schedule. The Wolverines finished with a record of 14-14 overall and 9-5 in WAC play in 2015. They will once again be chasing the New Mexico State Aggies, who finished undefeated in conference play last season and has been picked to finish first in the conference in 2016.
“We want to win the WAC Tournament and qualify for the NCAA Tournament. It’s going to be an uphill battle, but if we can stay healthy, we should be okay,” Atoa said regarding conference play.
Coach Atoa will have his team ready, but it’s up to the rest of us to be at the matches and cheer on the team. You won’t want to miss a minute of the action.