UCO Volleyball’s Upcoming Season
The Bronchos’ volleyball team faces off against the Nebraska Lopers on October 17, 2015. Photo by Ryan Naeve, The Vista.
UCO volleyball is coming off a good season in which they made the NCAA Division II tournament, where they were eliminated in the second round.
The Bronchos went 16-2 in conference play, which helped lead them to a record of 31-5 for the season. The expectations for the 2016 season have gone up for the team in response to last year’s success.
One question for the team going into this season is concerning what areas they can improve upon.
“Always defense. It’s always the biggest thing we stress because it’s easy to go up and kill the ball. Everyone can do that,” Allison Barr said who is the team’s starting middle blocker.
1st practice…check!!! pic.twitter.com/ett860oY2H
— UCO Volleyball (@UCOvolleyball) August 15, 2016
Although they have a couple of great players returning from last year’s team, the team will have to recover from losing seniors Barbara Jackson who led the team in kills with 427 and Whitney Gifford who led the team with 748 digs.
The Bronchos are returning key players like Katy Davis who led the team and the MIAA conference in assists with 1444. They are also returning Jordan Spence who led the team in blocks with 124 blocks.
The Bronchos have brought in some fresh new faces to this year’s team, bringing in 6 new recruits.
“For team morale I don’t think it’s going to have to change at all. We’re always really close and stick with each other,” Barr said.
Another question for the Bronchos going into this season is determining what the strong points for the team will be.
“We are always a strong offensive team, and we’re a smart offensive team—maybe not the strongest hitters, but we’re a smart offensive team,” Barr also stated. “The focus on our defense is one of our strong points this year. In our conference there is no way we are getting anywhere without defensive play.”
When asked about what some of things that head coach Edgar Miraku stresses to the team, Barr said, “Coach always stresses defense. I sleep, and I think about defense, and I’m not even a defensive player.”
With every new season there is usually a list of goals made by a team for its upcoming season. “The biggest goal I would say is to go to the National tournament,” Barr said. “We are trying to go undefeated at home this year.”
That would be something they are trying to improve upon from last year, where they went 15-1 at home.
Some of the biggest competition for UCO volleyball next season is in their own conference, with schools like Washburn University, University of Central Missouri and Nebraska Kearney as opponents.
“One of our goals is to beat Washburn and Central Missouri at their own home because we have never done that before,” Barr said.
UCO volleyball’s first game this season is on Sep 2. against Cameron University in the Southeastern Oklahoma Invitational. Their first home game will be on Sep 7., where they will face Oklahoma Baptist University.