By Mary Hart, USU Eastern Sports Information Contributor

PRICE – The USU Eastern Women’s Volleyball Team arrived in Price on August 1st to begin practice for their 2019 season.  Entering her fourth season the Lady Eagles are led by Head Coach Danielle Jensen and new Assistant Coach Sarah Mafi.   The Lady Eagles will begin preseason play on August 15th in Taylorsville, Utah against the University of Montana Western.  “The team has been working very hard throughout the Summer and during this first full week of practice.  These first few weeks will be crucial in preparing us for our first preseason tournament at the end of the month,” said Coach Jensen.

USU Eastern volleyball will have three preseason scrimmages.  One of which will be the Alumni Game on August 16th, before they start preseason play at the Snow College Invitational in Richfield, UT.  At this tournament they will be playing Otero Junior College, Central Wyoming College, Trinidad State Junior College and Yavapai College.  “This year we will play more preseason matches than we have ever played in the past against several currently ranked programs.  These competitive matches will help us prepare for conference play,” added Coach Jensen.

Last year the team finished their season with a record 17 wins and 10 loses as well as a 2nd place finish in the SWAC Region 18 Standings for the first time in program history.  This year they are determined to build upon that success and bring home a Region 18 Title paving the road to the national tournament hosted in Hutchinson, Kansas.

There will be several new faces on the team this year with 14 new freshmen and only 3 returning sophomores.  Kiara Richardson (OH/OPP), Breanne Bitter (OH), and Tiffany Schwendiman (DS) are the returning sophomores that hope to lead the young team to success this season.  “As a two-year program we are constantly rebuilding our program and with 14 new freshmen they know they have their work cut out for them.  I have seen great progress in each of them a week in and we will be ready for our scrimmage against UMW next week,” said Jensen.

Including the Snow College Invitational, the USU Eastern volleyball team will be playing in five tournaments before they begin conference play. These tournaments include: Dalton Overstreet Invitational (Prescott AZ, August 29th-31st), CSI Starr Corporation Invite (Twin Falls ID, September 6th-7th), Pizza Hut Invitation (Sterling, CO, September 13th-14th), and Wyo-Braska Tournament (Scottsbluff NE, September 20th-21st). They will begin Scenic West Conference play on September 26th against the Salt Lake Community College Bruins in Taylorsville, UT.

“I want to thank our fans and the community for their support of our volleyball program and the other athletic programs here at USU Eastern.  It makes the difference for our athletes when we have our community cheering us on.   I contribute part of our success last year on our home court to the fans that came out and supported us throughout the season,” said Jensen.