Linsey Craig, UVU Athletics
The Utah Valley University volleyball team will take the court for the first time in 2014 for its annual Green and White scrimmage Tuesday evening. The exhibition contest is free and open to the public and begins at 6 p.m. in the PE Building.
UVU, which is led by 16th-year head coach Sam Atoa, was recently picked to finish third in the Western Athletic Conference Preseason Poll behind defending champion New Mexico State and Seattle U. Three Wolverines were named preseason all-conference as the newly married junior middle blocker Lauren Bakker (formerly Stringham), senior outside hitter Kalani Norris and senior libero McKenna Tait were recognized by the league's coaches. Bakker was not only named to the preseason all-conference team but also as the WAC's Preseason Player of the Year.
The Wolverines, who went 18-15 overall in 2013 and took third in their first year in the WAC with an 11-5 league record, return five of their seven starters from a year ago. UVU will also mix in seven newcomers to the fold this year to go along with 10 returning letterwinners.
Tuesday's match will mark UVU's lone tune-up of the 2014 campaign, as it will head to Lawrence, Kansas, this weekend to officially begin its season. The Wolverines will have a tough challenge ahead of them as they'll face No. 22 Kansas on Friday morning, No. 23 Creighton on Friday afternoon and Lipscomb on Saturday. Two days later, UVU will be back in action as it will take on the University of Wyoming at Evanston High School in Evanston, Wyoming, on Labor Day.
After playing their first 11 matches on the road, the Wolverines will begin the home season Sept. 19-20, when Idaho State, Portland and UC Riverside come to town to take part in the annual La Quinta Inn and Suites Invitational.
James Warnick is an assistant sports information director at Utah Valley University. For more information about Wolverine athletics, visit WolverineGreen.com.