Alli Spurrier and the Utes begin their 2012 season this weekend at the Utah State Invitational.
Aug. 20, 2012
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Keep Up With the Utes: Live stats for all four matches of the event can be found at utahstateaggies.com. Access the complete schedule for the weekend as well as information on all four clubs. Friday night's match against the Utah State Aggies will be streamed live at utahstateaggies.com.
Blockin' Utes: Utah finished 2011 fifth in the NCAA and third in the Pac-12 with 3.00 blocks per set. The Utes turned in 2.90 blocks per set in league competition. Erin Redd (Spanish Fork, Utah) ended her sophomore season 16th in the NCAA and third in the Pac-12 with 1.37 blocks per set. Redd has posted 100 or more blocks in each of her first two seasons as a Ute. She already has 258 career blocks (18 solo, 240 block assists), which is 138 shy of breaking into Utah's top-10 list.
Starting Right: The Utes have won four straight season openers and seven of their last eight. Head coach Beth Launiere is 15-7 in the first game of a season and Utah is 20-17 all-time.
Utah's Right-side Hitters: The trend of talented yet experience youth continues into Utah's group of right-side hitters, where sophomores Shelby Dalton (Moab, Utah) and Alli Spurrier (Salt Lake City, Utah) return.
Utah's Outside Hitters: Junior Morgan Odale (Star, Idaho) and sophomore Chelsey Schofield (Provo, Utah) return to anchor the Ute attack. The duo started all 31 matches last season and both were Utah's top options last year, combining for 5.80 kills per set, which was 48% of the team's kills. Odale hasn't missed a start in two seasons and already has 685 career kills, which leaves her 315 short of becoming the 13th member of Utah's 1,000-kill club. Schofield earned Pac-12 All-Freshman Team Honorable Mention last season after leading the team with 2.95 kills per set and finishing third on the squad with 2.63 digs per set. Despite putting up huge numbers, the duo continues to work with the Ute coaching staff to add new facets to their game.
Utah's Middle Blockers: A pillar of success throughout Utah's winning tradition has been tenacious defense at the net, led by the Ute middle blockers. Despite the loss of a key starter, Launiere feels confident that Utah's stellar blocking at the net will continue in 2012 with Redd , Bailey Bateman (Hooper, Utah) and Eden Frazier (Irvine, Calif.) comprising this year's unit.