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The Weber State University volleyball team concluded its preseason with the annual intrasquad Purple and Black Game Saturday evening.
Head coach Tom Peterson put the team through a tough fall camp that included two-a-days, and he said he felt the players responded well to the challenge of playing against one another. The Wildcats concluded the camp with the annual scrimmage, the teams being evenly matched with one another. The black team controlled the first three sets by winning 25-20, 25-21 and 25-16. The purple team rallied together for the fourth and final set, when they edged out the black team by the score of 15-13.
Peterson said he saw a lot of things he feels will translate into a great season.
“You could see that our team has improved from last year, so that is a good sign,” he said. “When you put those two teams together, we have a lot of potential. We have a lot of big arms, and if we can get that sort of ball movement, we will be in good shape. We are a young team, with seven new players this year.”
Assistant coach Joy Nakaishi said she felt like the newcomers have come into the program with a desire to work hard and help the team build on the success from last year. Both Nakaishi and Peterson had high praise for Megan Bean, a freshman from Richfield, Utah.
“If you were to watch this match, Megan Bean got to play the whole time, but she is a good blocker,” he said. “She had more than double the blocks of anyone else. She has the potential to be one of the better players in the conference.”
Nakaishi said the summer training helped many of the players improve.
“Every player wants to have a good match,” Nakaishi said. “Bean was very physical at the net, and Tanisha Langston played very constant for us. We had quite a few freshmen who took summer classes and trained; I think that helped them leaps and bounds. It’s overwhelming to just start when fall starts. The girls who came in during the summer are more comfortable with the system.”
Audrey Hunter, a sophomore at WSU, played for the purple team in the scrimmage. Hunter said she felt the team played really well and the intensity was there. She said she hopes to play well enough and stay healthy so she can help the team as much as possible.
“The black team was passing nails; they made our defense think,” Hunter said. “We had a hard time keeping up with their passes. We have a good group of freshmen coming in and hoping to have a winning season. At the end of the season, I want to be top 10 in the conference in blocking. I did pretty well last year, and I think I can do better this year.”
Peterson said he has high hopes for the players as they begin play this week. He knows the season is young but said he feels the team is going to grow with every match.
“Of course, we want to win the conference,” Peterson said. “You have to always have those high goals. We feel that we can compete with anyone; it just depends on how fast our inexperience turns into experience. We are wanting to make the playoffs — I will be upset if we don’t make the playoffs.”
The Wildcats will open their season this Friday and Saturday as they host the Wildcat Weekend, competing against teams from Seattle University, Texas Tech University and the University of California, Riverside.