Wolverines Combine Youth With Senior LeadershipOct 07, 2016 02:38PM ● By Greg James
The Hunter Wolverines have several seniors and underclassman on this year’s volleyball team. (Greg James/City Journals)
By Greg James | [email protected]
The Hunter High School girls volleyball team is taking on a new identity. They have stepped away from its former knock your block off attitude to a team of finesse and skill.
“I feel like we are starting to make some big improvements. We started off the season very slow. We have a lot of young players, but we also have some seniors and when they come together they are pretty amazing,” second year Wolverines volleyball coach Rebecca Dees said. “We want to be united as a team and play with a level head. We have really tried not to get caught up in the emotion of the game.”
The Wolverines have combined inexperienced players with a few upper classman. They are learning to rely on each other and come together as a team so they can get better.
“We have some solid seniors on the team and have mixed in a few younger girls. We have a strong group coming up, some of them are not even getting playing time. We will be competitive this season and in the future. Once we decide to play together, like we have lately, you will see Hunter’s volleyball team really improve,” Dees said.
The Wolverines started the 2016 season off on the wrong path. The only won two of their first eight matches. They defeated Hillcrest 2-0 and Highland 3-2.
“We have had a few rough spots, but we are working really hard in practice to get better and play as a team,” sophomore outside hitter Caleigh Vagana said.
Dees said Vagana is a player to watch. She leads the team with 78 kills and has 16 service aces.
“She (Vagana) keeps getting better. The team depends on her in tough situations. I know she will step up and fill the role of a leader on this team. Vagana has some great hits, but she is not going to get those big hits without some great passing or a setter that can get it to the outside for her. We are making big improvements. Our goal is to get to state and start competing at that level,” Dees said.
Senior outside hitter Roni Lui is second on the team in kills with 54. Ofa Miko leads the team in blocks. Defensive specialist Katrina Azevedo has 110 digs to lead the team.
Against Granger Sept. 15 the Wolverines defeated the Lancers in three sets 25-23, 25-23 and 25-19. The teams had long rallies. The final point in the second set saw the Wolverines making several key digs and sideline passes before Vagana placed a beautiful ball down the left side of the court and off a Lancer defender.
“This team is diverse and we are learning to come together,” Vagana said.
The Wolverines currently stand in sixth place in Region 2. They are just one game behind West and Syracuse for fourth place.
“Region two has some powerhouses and some coaches with a lot of history. This is a tough region, but there is no reason that we cannot battle back and compete with these teams,” Dees said.
The Utah High School Activities Association 5A state volleyball tournament is scheduled to be held Nov. 4-5 at Utah Valley University.