UCO Volleyball Season Set to Begin
(Provided/ Vista Archives).
The University of Central Oklahoma volleyball team will begin their season in September as they look to continue “maintain the same [winning] culture” of recent years and serve up the 2017 campaign with a slightly different group out on the court.
After losing five seniors, including their leader Katy Davis, the Lady Bronchos look to step up and fill the shoes of those who came before. “We lost a lot of experience and maturity this year,” Head Coach Edgar Miraku said.
There will be seven players this season getting their first taste of college volleyball.
Davis’ absence will be felt both on and off the court as UCO loses their captain and one of the best setters in program history. Davis finished third on the UCO all-time assists record with 4,442.
Junior Taylor Bevis looks to fill Davis’ void this season for UCO, as she led the team last season with 415 kills.
“We’re hoping she fills the leadership role,” Miraku said.
The Lady Bronchos will need her power over the net throughout the course of the season.
“Her hitting ability is crucial for us,” Miraku added.
This year’s team will feature a new assistant coach in Alisa Blair. She joins UCO after spending the past three seasons with Hill College in Hillsboro, Texas. Blair was named 2014 Coach of The Year and led Hill College to 83 victories during her tenure.
For Miraku, the main focal point this off-season has been the defense. Without the ability to dig out big shots and set teammates up, Bevis’ striking won’t mean much. “The key to winning for us is what kind of defense we have.”
A major piece of that defensive success will be sophomore Dominique Lipari’s ability to extend volleys. Lipari led the Lady Bronchos last season with 477 digs as a true freshman. The team will rely on Lipari’s defense to give them a chance at setting up a good shot.
Good defense leads to good offense. That is the philosophy UCO is going with this year.
The Lady Bronchos hope to build off last season’s success as they come off a 30-4 record, going 15-3 in conference play while never losing a home game before falling to Washburn University 0-3 in postseason play.
“Going through our conference can be tougher than the National Tournament,” Miraku claimed. Once a team qualifies anything can happen and, according to Miraku, the opportunity is there.
While this season’s volleyball team may lack the experience of previous teams, Coach Miraku will have the Bronchos ready to play. As the season draws near, UCO continues to prepare and set their sights on their goal.
“We want to make the National Tournament,” Miraku stated. “Put ourselves in a good position to win.”
September 1 marks the start of the 2017 season for the Bronchos as they enter the Tarleton State Classic. The home opener will not be until September 14 during the UCO Crossover Tournament before they begin conference play against Missouri Southern University.