Volleyball "set" to open season

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Weber State University junior outside hitter Bethany Wray jumps to hit the ball during a practice this summer. Volleyball starts their season with a tournament at the University of Utah this weekend.
Weber State University’s Volleyball team will be traveling to University of Utah this weekend to officially start their season. They will be competing in the Utah Classic tournament and will play big schools such as U of U, Northwestern University, and California State University Northridge.

Captain setter Caitlin Penrod said that she is looking forward to see how WSU will compete with some big-named schools in this tournament.

“It’s a big tournament, so we are going to play against some big schools like U of U,” Penrod said. “They are all really good schools. It’s exciting to see how we will match up against such tough competition. It is also a really good chance for our coaches to see what we need to work on and develop.”

WSU Volleyball had a rough season last year only winning 4 of 31 games. Head coach Tom Peterson wants the team to have a new reputation, one that says that WSU will compete in every match they play.

“The tone we will hope to set is that we are going to compete,” Peterson said. “We want to have a tradition going that we are going to compete for every single point. That we are going to be a good volleyball team. If you play us, we are going to set a fast offense.”

On the flip side, Peterson wants the team to really see this first weekend as a learning experience.

“I also, on the other hand, want to make sure that we are not considering this first weekend as the end all,” Peterson said. “We’re using it as a gaze into where we are so that we can get better in the following weeks. We have got to make sure that we know that we are not as good this weekend as we will be the following weekend. I want to win as bad as anyone. We just have to make sure that our upside is still very huge. We are going to use this weekend to make us better.”

Junior outside hitter Bethany Wray said that the team will use this tournament to evaluate the level of play they are at and where they want and need to be.

“The first tournament especially is kind of an assessment and a guideline at the same time.” Wray said. “We get to see where we are at. I think the biggest goal this weekend is to put to use what we have learned so far and kind of assess our progress and what we still need to work on. We are just going to see where we are at and where they are going to go from here.”

Penrod agrees with Wray that it will be a good opportunity to see where the team is at on a skill level.

“It’s definitely going to let us know what we need to work on and get better at.” Penrod said. “Hopefully, it will be a good confidence booster for us.”
The team has been hard at work this fall in their practices. They have learned a lot of new things and have set the goal to get them in a solid place early in the season.

“We are trying to get all of our systems in place and just get going as fast as we can early in the season.” Peterson said. “We are always looking to be farther along than the other team. We have a lot that we have gone over and we are looking at those pieces and putting them into play as fast as we can.”

Wray predicts that the main outcome of this tournament will be that the team will show off how consistent they have become.

“Honestly, I think we are going to do pretty well.” Wray said. “Wins and losses aside, I think we will be consistent. I think that is something we have come a long way on.  We have been trying to be consistent in drills and game-like situations. I think that the outcome of the weekend will be  a consistency that will lead to wins.”