WOODS CROSS--Third Team All-State middle blocker Whitney McEwan, who is committed to BYU, and Honorable Mention All-State outside hitter Michaeli Barnes lead a group of six seniors who return for the Woods Cross volleyball team this season.
The squad’s four other seniors – setter Paige Mckenna, outside hitter Ryean Rasmussen, middle blocker Lauren Olsen and libero Cassie Howard – will also be expected to contribute heavily to the team’s success on and off the court this year.
“It’s great to have these seniors who have established good leadership and good work ethic and who bring lots of good energy,” said third-year head coach Nicole Hogan. “We are also trying to make sure our older girls are reaching out to the younger ones, creating a strong team bond and fighting for each other.”
Sophomore setter Olivia Hawkins, sophomore middle blocker Savannah McEwan and sophomore outside/opposite hitter Haidyn Carrico, a move-in from Indiana, will also have significant contributions to the varsity program this year, according to Hogan.
“We’ve got some personnel that allows us to experiment with some things and play with some things,” Hogan said. “Much of what we will try to do, though, will be determined by our passing.”
So far this season, the Wildcats have defeated Bonneville 3-0 on Aug. 17, Copper Hills 3-0 Aug. 21 and Olympus 3-0 Aug. 22.
“We’ve been able to get a good look at our team at we are doing some good things,” Hogan said. “This
group is really motivated and we’ve got some good pieces, but we know we have work to do.”
Also on the 2017 team are juniors Riley Aiono, Abriana Grubbs, Olivia Massey and Sydney Violette; sophomores Ariana Ayala, Grace Hogan, Allee Mckenna, Hannah Nyman, Olivia Suliafu, Emily Warner and Amanda Worthen; and freshman Madeleine Haley, Halle Hogan, Grace Hunter, Annie Michaelis and Samantha Saba.
Hogan is being assisted on the coaching staff this season by Lee Eschler and Hollee Rasmussen.
“We have little goals this season that are very stats-driven which will allow us to know where we’re at as we hit those targets,” Hogan said. “I am pleased with our team’s work ethic, their drive and hunger. They know what they’re up for.”