Published: Friday, October 19, 2012
Updated: Monday, October 22, 2012 03:10
The UNC volleyball season has officially reached its midpoint, but the team is pushing as hard as ever to bring home that Big Sky title again.
The University of Northern Colorado (14-5, 7-3 Big Sky) is currently No. 4 in the standings but looks to do some climbing after playing at Montana (5-14, 3-7) and Montana State (11-7, 5-5) today and Saturday, respectively.
The Bears’ primary concern in practice this week was simple: blocking.
“A lot of the focus this week has been team goals, rather than personal ones,” sophomore middle blocker Andrea Spaustat said. “Things that the team can do together, achieve together. We really wanted to work on our blocking, which was actually one of my personal goals at the beginning of the year, and that’s what the focus has been all week.”
Senior outside hitter and reigning Big Sky MVP Kelley Arnold said blocking has been a point of interest, but it is not the only area the team is working to improve.
“We have a weekly focus, and this week it’s blocking,” Arnold said. “We also have been focusing on ball control — something essential if we want to win this weekend.”
Reflecting on how their season has been so far, the Bears had a lot of positive things to be proud of, as well as areas to improve.
“We shouldn’t have lost those conference games,” Spaustat said. “People will say they were good games, but being on the team, I know we have more potential than that.”
Being able to score fast and often helped lead the Bears to clutch victories so far in the conference.
“I’ve noticed that this year, our offense has really taken off and is showing a sense of urgency during games when we need it,” Arnold said.
The Bears beat both Montana and Montana State earlier in the season, but both of those matches were at home. Historically, UNC has struggled against the Grizzlies in Missoula, Mont., only beating them once on the road.
As far as Montana State is concerned, though, the Bears have beaten Montana State 13 times in a row.
“We have not had a road sweep at all this season, and I feel like this weekend we have a good chance to change that,” head coach Lyndsey Oates said.
The Bears begin with a match at 7 p.m. today in Missoula, Mont. and finish the weekend 7 p.m. Saturday in Bozeman, Mont. when they play Montana State.