Lea Adolph returns for her junior season as a defensive specialist for the Utes.
Aug 22, 2013
SALT LAKE CITY - With the University of @UtahVolleyball team starting its 2013 season on Aug. 30, UtahUtes.com will once again break down the Utes' roster position-by-position. Today's edition examines Utah's setters and liberos.
2013 UtahUtes.com Volleyball Position-By-Position Preview
Setters and Liberos
Utah's lone returning setter Kendall Cygan led team with 5.73 assists per set in league matches. In her 23 starts in 2012, Cygan averaged 5.99 assists, 1.54 digs and 0.16 service aces per set. The Orange, Calif., native surpassed 30 assists four times and also had 15 matches of 20 assists or more.
"Kendall came in last year and proved she can play at this level, physically and mentally," Launiere said. "She's a hard-nosed competitor. For her to walk in as a freshman and do what she did last year and be able to handle it says a lot. She's ready to go. She improved a lot technically this spring. Physically and mentally, she's tough."
Junior Kalee Kirby arrives on the Utah campus from Northern Arizona after being named the 2012 Big Sky Conference All-Tournament Team. In the two matches, Kirby handed out 84 assists (12.00 assists per set) and 21 digs (3.00 digs per set) while adding three blocks, a service ace, and five kills on a .455 hitting percentage.
"We're fortunate enough to have Kirby coming in," Launiere said. "She was a two-year starter at Northern Arizona. They won 24 matches last year. Kalee has two years of collegiate setting experience under her belt and she knows how to win. She also played club ball with Bateman and Spurrier. She's from Utah. She'll fit in well and be very comfortable. She's another kid who is a hard-nosed competitor and I like the combination of Cygan and Kirby a lot."
Junior Lea Adolph will patrol the Ute back row after averaging 2.42 digs and 0.15 service aces per set in 2013. The Waltrop, Germany native had 14 matches of 10 digs or more last season.
Freshman Tess Sutton will provide depth in a backup role behind Adolph. The Bonsall, Calif., native was ranked third in digs among prep athletes in the San Diego area in 2012.
"Lea made more strides this spring than she has throughout her career," Launiere said. "She really took some big steps. She's a proven passer at this level and she improved her defense considerably. Tess comes in after having played with one of the top club teams in the country. She's very experienced at the junior level. She's a very strong competitor and mentally tough."
Setter Player Notes
Kendall Cygan 5-8 So. Orange, Calif. Santa Margarita Catholic H.S.
An interesting player with an exciting game ... a nice setter and good defensive player ... has a lot of intangibles: scrappy, competitive and a good leader ... expected to add a lot of value to the team.
Kalee Kirby 5-7 Jr. South Weber, Utah Northern Arizona
Two-year starter at Northern Arizona University ... Utah native who will fit in well with the Utes ... hard-nosed competitor ... helped NAU win 27 matches in 2012 ... club teammate of Bailey Bateman and Alli Spurrier.
Libero Player Notes
Lea Adolph 5-6 Jr Waltrop, Germany Pascalgymnasium
Gained a tremendous amount of experience and became more comfortable after playing a significant role as Utah's second defensive player in her first two seasons as a Ute ... competed at the highest levels in German Junior Volleyball as a member of the junior national team ... a fiery competitor and talented player.
Tess Sutton 5-3 Fr. Bonsall, Calif. Fallbrook H.S.
Will provide depth in a backup role in Utah's back row ... ranked third in digs among prep athletes in the San Diego area in 2012.