2013 Preview: Utah volleyball
While the Utes prospered in the preseason schedule, posting a five-game win streak to open the year, the conference slate proved difficult again for Utah. Despite sweeping Arizona State in Pac-12 play, Utah finished ninth overall in the conference standings. With six returning starters and only one letterwinner lost, Utah looks to advance in the Conference and make their first postseason run since 2008.
» The Utes have a large depth of experience returning, only losing one letterwinner in this year's turnover. Spearheading Utah's scoring efforts will be JR OH Chelsey Schofield, who led the Utes last year in points (458.0) and points per set (3.66). Schofield was also a defensive power, with 299 digs on the year. Complementing Schofield on the attack will be returning starters SR OH Morgan Odale and SR MB Erin Redd-Brandon (pictured). All three players have spent the past two years on the front lines together and bring not only experience but also chemistry to Utah's squad.
» Defensively, Redd-Brandon and JR MB Bailey Bateman will bolster Utah's presence at the net. The two recorded a combined 331 blocks last season, leading Utah to the second-highest block per set average (3.00), and are also the most seasoned players on the team as the only seniors on the roster.
» Despite the departure of assists leader McKenzie Odale, SO S Kendall Cygan saw plenty of playing time in 104 sets last season and looks to direct the floor along with transfer JR S Kalee Kirby.
» The Utes are still adapting to a competitive Pac-12 Conference, as reflected by a 5-15 conference record. But with so much returning experience, Utah looks to make a run at this year's Pac-12 schedule with a favorable four-game home stand to open the season.