Fall sports preview

Now that fall is in full swing, there are a lot of things in the Weber State University athletics to be looking forward to. Football is the sport that gets the most attention, but that should not be a person’s only focus. WSU women’s soccer and volleyball will also be something to watch this fall.

WSU volleyball has made a lot of changes to its program this past year. First of all, they got a new head coach, Tom Peterson. Peterson is one of the most qualified volleyball coaches in the western United States. Before coming to WSU, Peterson was the assistant volleyball coach at Utah State University. He has more than 30 years’ experience of coaching collegiate-level volleyball.

Next thing to look for at the volleyball matches is player Bethany Wray, a junior. Her collegiate experience has been exclusively dedicated to WSU. Last year, she was one of two WSU players to play in all 112 sets. She had 362 kills and was responsible for 427 of the Wildcats’ total points. She had 40 service aces, the most in the Big Sky Conference.

The returners will put on a good show this year, but the five new incoming freshmen will also be a great asset to the new chemistry and flow of the team.

Wray said she is excited for this year, and that people should come out and watch volleyball because of all the new changes in the program. She said she is excited to try out a new philosophy and to play with the new girls coming in.

“I think it is going to be a lot more exciting just because of the coach and to see what he can do,” Wray said. “He definitely knows the game. He knows a lot of our strengths and weaknesses. We have a lot of incoming girls that are supposed to be pretty good. They will be really fun to watch.”

The volleyball team’s next game is at the University of Utah on Aug. 26, and their first home game is Sept. 3 against Brigham Young University—Hawaii.

WSU soccer has gone from conference champs to the bottom of the conference in a five-year span. A person can never know what team is going to show up in any given year. They had an extremely young team last year, having only one or two seniors. The experience the team will have this year will bring a lot to the table.

Senior Jessie Baddley will be one to look for this year. Baddley is a forward and midfielder for the Wildcats. She played in all 19 games last year for the Wildcats, including 17 starts. She led the Wildcats in scoring last year with a total of 14 points on five goals and four assists.

Head Coach Tim Crompton said that expectations are high for this year, and the athletes this year have a lot to prove.

“Our expectations are always that we want to be competing for a conference championship,” Crompton said. “We want to win the conference. This particular group has things that they need to prove. All of us do. We have had two years in a row where we have had near misses. For most of the girls, this is the last chance to really go out and leave some kind of legacy for themselves.”

Senior Ari Wood said she is expecting people to really step up this year and want to play.

“I’m expecting people to step up, to come out and play, win, and bond together as a team,” Wood said.

The women’s fall sports should be showing a lot of improvement this year compared to last year. Soccer’s next game will be on Aug. 23 at Utah Valley University. Their next home game is Sept. 18 against New Mexico State University.