USU Eastern Press Release
Utah State Eastern volleyball began practice on Monday and the program is looking to take the next step under third-year head coach Danielle Jensen.
After a ten-win season in 2016, the Eagles made huge strides in 2017 with an 18-10 record with weekly appearances in the NJCAA Top 20 poll.
Jensen said that last year was great to be a part of but she wants to see her team do more in 2018.
“We got the wins we should have got but we have to knock off some of the bigger schools in conference play,” said Jensen.
The Eagles went 4-6 in conference last season and did not pick up a win against top programs such as College of Southern Idaho, Snow College or Salt Lake. Improving that conference record is a major focus and a big goal for Jensen and her program this upcoming season.
Jensen will have the personnel to do so with a good mix of returning starters and a talented group of freshmen to push for playing time.
Gurr-Wiscombe returns as the Eagles’ libero after a dominating 2017 in which she was named the Region XVIII Defensive Player of the Year after leading the conference in digs.
“Having her back is huge for me. I am excited to watch her grow and build the defense around her because we already know what she is capable,” said Jensen.
On offense, the Eagles will have Mafi and Carter on the outside to fill the shoes left by All-Region first teamer and leading scorer Sidney Springer, who graduated in May. Last season, Mafi was second on the team in scoring with 261 kills. Mafi believes that she can help fill that role and is excited to be a leader on offense.
“Sidney was the one of the best, and I learned so much from her example on and off the court. We knew we could rely on Sid to get a side out for us, I want my teammates this year to feel that way about me. Big shoes to fill, but I’m excited to give it my best shot,” said Mafi.
Jensen knows that Mafi and Carter can do the job and help the Eagles accomplish their team goals in 2018.
“Those two are going to be so fun to watch. They improved a lot in the spring and played at another level than they did in the fall,” said Jensen.
Something that Jensen and the Eagles will have to address early in fall practices this week is replacing all-conference setter Aggie Roese-Olsen.
Jensen knew that this would be coming and brought in two freshmen that can compete for the position.
“We have two amazing setters coming and I am excited to see what they do. We need to get them to work with the hitters and get those two positions to mesh,” said Jensen.
Speaking of meshing together, Mafi said that most of the team has been talking and getting to know each other before they move in to campus, something that she believes will be important to building the team’s chemistry.
“We’ve all been talking a lot before we’ve even met and I can already tell we have really good chemistry as a team,” said Mafi.
That chemistry coupled with hard work in the beginning of the fall practice will be huge for the Eagles as they look to start off the season strong, like last year’s 4-0 start.
Mafi and the Eagles will begin their season on Aug. 24 with a four-game tournament in Richfield.
“It is going a be a good time this year, we’re ready to give it our all,” said Mafi.