The UVU volleyball team has, “a special team dynamic this year, from the upperclassmen down to the freshmen,” said senior Jasmine Niutupuivaha and freshman Tori Dorius during a sit-down on Friday, Sept. 20. Niutupuivaha and Dorius have each played key roles in the Wolverines pre-conference games, but also play key roles in uniting their team together.
Getting to know Dorius and Niutupuivaha
Dorius is from Heber City, Utah, not too far from UVU. She plays outside/right side hitter and has tallied 61 kills for the season thus far. That puts her at third for the team-lead in that statistic. As a freshman, Dorius explained that she was not really sure what to expect coming into this year.
“Playing with the team has been super fun. I was super nervous before I came,” said Dorius. “But they have all been super welcoming and I feel like I can be myself around them. No matter how the game or practice is going, they always have my back.”
Niutupuivaha, who is one of four seniors on the team this year, is a middle blocker from Hau’ula, Hawaii. In her final season as a Wolverine volleyball player, Niutupuivaha has high hopes for herself and the team.
Over the course of her time playing for UVU, she has broken personal records for kills and blocks each year, and earned Wolfpack/Camel Invitational All-Tournament Team honors for her play at that weekend tournament in Sept. 2018. During this current season, Niutupuivaha has 40 total blocks to go along with 70 kills.
“It’s been great, but it’s been bittersweet,” said Niutupuivaha. “A team goal we have this year is to win the WAC, especially since we are hosting it here in front of our home crowd. I personally want to work on the little skills that will help me get better offensively and defensively.”
Keys and outlook during the season
The Wolverines record during pre-conference play was 4-8, but the team is optimistic about the rest of the season going into conference play. They especially have that confidence, after a big win over Utah State on Sept. 18.
“There’s a lot of things to be excited about,” said Dorius. “Everything that comes up is super exciting to me because it’s all new stuff. I’m excited to compete with other teams and with the girls that are on this team.”
UVU’s roster this season has nine lowerclassmen, which is more than half of the team. This has created a lot of opportunities for freshmen and sophomores to contribute. Niutupuivaha described how she was excited about the way the lowerclassmen have stepped up in this season so far.
“The younger classmen have been doing a good job stepping up and filling in the roles that we needed,” said Niutupuivaha. “We still have a lot of things to work on as a team together, so that when conference comes, we will be ready.”
Both Niutupuivaha and Dorius expressed the importance of teamwork in volleyball. With Dorius just beginning her playing career with Wolverines, she explained about how crucial it has been for them to work together and fulfill their specific duties.
“You have to trust each other. Everybody has a different role, and you have to know exactly what your role is and trust that the person next to you knows what theirs is. You just have to get it done,” said Dorius.
“Teamwork on this team is very important because volleyball is a game of momentum,” said Niutupuivaha. “We all rely on each other to pick each other up. It’s been a learning process these four years, but it’s something that I’m grateful for and that I think will be beneficial in all aspects of life.”
Niutupuivaha, Dorius and the rest of the team have high hopes for the remainder of the season, as they continue to bond together, and work hard in order to achieve their goals. The Wolverines will start conference play on Thursday, Sept. 26 at home against New Mexico State.