Junior Carly Trueman has been a powerful force for the once ranked No. 16 Utah volleyball team in 2016. The 6-foot-1-inch outside hitter from Arizona ranks second in kills on the team with more than 250 kills on the season.
Born in Tucson, Ariz. to Ursula and David Trueman, both graduates of the U’s engineering program, that was something important that factored into Trueman’s recruiting.
“I ended up coming to [Utah] for a couple different reasons,” Trueman said. “One of them, it’s Pac-12, so you’re playing at the highest level. And then Salt Lake City is just an amazing place. My dad lives here, so I came here growing up. I love the people here and everything there is to do.”
Trueman first started playing volleyball in fifth grade after she had to switch elementary schools.
“It was a good way to meet people,” Trueman said.
By high school, Trueman was sick of volleyball and she almost didn’t try out for the team. An academic advisor that had a daughter on the Tucson High Magnet School volleyball team talked her into trying out and the rest is history.
Playing volleyball for the Badgers, Trueman finished her high school career with 258 kills, 37 serving aces and a .299 hitting percentage.
“We weren’t the best high school team in Tucson, but we definitely got a lot better through the years,” Trueman said.
Utah volleyball head coach Beth Launiere attended one of Trueman’s high school volleyball practices and liked what she saw.
“I saw what a great athlete she was right off the bat,” Launiere said. “I learned that both her parents went to school here and I thought it was a pretty good fit. I think she chose right. We were excited about what we saw right off the bat.”
After arriving at Utah, Trueman had to take a redshirt year in 2013 after breaking her wrist. The year watching from the sidelines helped Trueman with her game and her mind.
“It’s tough being on the team, but not competing,” Trueman said. “You learn all the roles on the team are important and you learn to support your teammates and just get better.”
Trueman stepped on the Crimson Court floor for her college volleyball debut on Aug. 29, 2014 against Montana State. Throughout her life, Trueman has been a daredevil — taking on everything from dirt bike riding, to skydiving, to snowboarding — but nothing could compare to the thrill of her first college volleyball match.
Trueman finished her first match with six kills and a block, kickstarting her college career. Trueman closed out her redshirt freshman year with 178 kills and 111 blocks. In November, she earned Utah’s first ever Pac-12 Offensive Player of the Week award.
In her freshman year in 2014, the Utes made the NCAA tournament and they beat Kansas State. When they advanced to the second round to play Nebraska, they lost a five-setter, 3-2. Trueman cherishes the experience of the tournament.
“That was amazing,” Trueman said. “Nebraska’s fans were probably some of the nicest, most respectful fans that I’ve ever played against.”
In her second season, Trueman took on a more active role in the team, appearing in 101 of Utah’s 118 sets in 2015. Trueman had 218 kills on the year — 40 more than her debut season — and she continued her development. Trueman’s best performance of 2015 came in November against Cal. In a 3-2 win over the Golden Bears, Trueman registered 15 kills and five digs — both career highs.
“Finally getting to compete and play against all the different teams, that was the first time that I experienced the skill level change from high school to Division I, so it was kind of overwhelming, but it motivated me to keep working,” Trueman said.
In her junior season, Trueman has shattered every career record she set in her sophomore year. Against Illinois State, Trueman finished the match with 20 kills. Against Arizona State, she bested her previous record by finishing the match with six digs.
Trueman’s development and game has impressed her coach.
“Her athleticism stands out,” Launiere said. “She really is one of the best athletes to ever play at Utah, just a phenomenal athlete. You just don’t come across athletes like her every day.”
When asked about what legacy she wants to leave, Trueman pointed up at the NCAA tournament banners decorating the walls at Crimson Court.
“I wouldn’t mind getting a couple more of the NCAA banners up there,” Trueman said.