In volleyball, an outside hitter is a player who attacks and blocks the ball, usually from the front left side of the court. These athletes are typically have a tall stature and are capable of jumping high and hitting the ball with accuracy. This position not only requires mastery of the necessary techniques and strengths on both offense and defense, but to reach success, communication with teammates is a key component.
Adora Anae, a senior outside hitter, has been a powerful player for the Utes. She started in all 32 matches in 2016, and her expertise in the game helped her earn Pac-12 Offensive Player of the Week honors in September last season. Over the course of her junior season, Anae had 592 kills, breaking her own school record of single-season kills. That number ranked her No. 1 in the Pac-12 in kills, too.
When Anae is on the court and the ball is in the air, she said all that’s going through her mind is that she needs to attack the ball, and the numbers show she is doing exactly that.
“Your job is to get kills, basically. … It takes the ball longer to get to us, so we have more time and we can see more court,” Anae said. “I just want to kill the ball.”
Sophomore Torre Glasker said the hardest part about being an outside hitter is how frequently the volleyball comes in their area of the court. When the match is in the middle of a long rally and the pressure is high, other team members rely on the outside hitters to make key plays and get points. Glasker alternates between being an outside hitter and the libero, a player who specializes in defense. Glasker’s favorite part of playing the outside hitting position is having the opportunity to do a little bit of everything.
“I love to play defense,” Glasker said. “But it’s really fun to hit. So I think outside hitter [is my favorite] just because you get both aspects of it.”
Other outside hitters have joined the Utes’ 2017 roster. Freshman Kenzi Koerber from Chino Hills, California, is one of those new faces. Koerber said that the outside hitting position has been the right fit for her since eighth grade. Standing at 6-foot-3-inches and left-handed, she has quickly found her place in the Division I conference. She didn’t think she would be a significant player in her first year with the Utes, but as the season progresses, Koerber has surprised herself in all that she has accomplished.
“Since I’m left-handed, they thought that would be the best position for me,” Koerber said. “I’ve learned that there’s a lot that I can contribute to the team in this role.”