Jeff Huehn, UTSA Athletics
UTSA volleyball is primed for yet another great season behind the leadership of 2014 Conference USA Coach of the Year, Head Coach Laura Groff.
The team is well into their fall practice regimen as they prepare for the season opener on August 28 against Montana University.
“I feel like we’re in a really good spot,” Groff said about the team’s development to this point. “Our goal is to three-peat. We don’t talk about wins and losses, we talk about reaching our goals.”
Despite coming off of two consecutive regular season titles, the Roadrunners were pegged to finished second in the most recent Conference USA preseason poll. Western Kentucky — whom UTSA shared the regular season title with last fall — earned the top spot in the same poll.
“I felt like maybe we could have been tied for first (in the poll), but I’m okay with the ranking,” Groff said. “Those things are really irrelevant to me. Maybe it will give our girls more of an incentive.”
UTSA returns a core of very talented and decorated players from last year’s club. Leading the charge for this year’s squad will likely be junior all-conference standouts Dajana Boskovic and Jessica Waldrip.
Although Boskovic has been unable to practice due to a minor injury, Waldrip has already begun proving that she’s ready to take on a leadership role with this team.
“Jessica is a silent leader,” Groff said. “We’re challenging her to push her team more. I see the growth — she’s out there, she’s more vocal and she’s just taking charge.”
Seniors Annie Kunes and Kylie Schott — who were both awarded second-team all-conference honors last season — add strength to the core of talented veterans. Although the upper-classmen will likely lead the way for this year’s team, the incoming freshmen have shown promise.
“Our freshmen are just unbelievable,” Groff said. “They’re pushing everyday and they’re not going to accept the fact that we have a veteran squad. They’re battling.”
In addition to dominate performances on the court, the UTSA volleyball team has continued to capture headlines off the court with their excellent academic performance. The Roadrunners were the recipient of the American Volleyball Coaches Association’s Team Academic Award for the second consecutive year.
“The atmosphere that we form here is of taking responsibility on and off the court,” Groff said. “I pride myself in being the role model that I am.”
The team will begin play on Friday, August 28 at the Bearkats Invitational in Huntsville, Texas.