The University of Utah's Independent Student Voice

The Daily Utah Chronicle

The University of Utah's Independent Student Voice

The Daily Utah Chronicle

The University of Utah's Independent Student Voice

The Daily Utah Chronicle

Write for Us
Want your voice to be heard? Submit a letter to the editor, send us an op-ed pitch or check out our open positions for the chance to be published by the Daily Utah Chronicle.
Print Issues

Volleyball hopes change will do them good

Typically when people travel to Hawaii, it’s to enjoy the state’s warm Pacific breeze, world-renowned beaches and hopefully a tan. Not Beth Launiere.

When the 18-year Utah volleyball head coach made her way to Hawaii on Monday it was all business — and not just because it was a recruiting trip. During the trip, Launiere went over her team’s offensive statistics with the tender care and precision of an IRS auditor.

“I just broke down our stats and just looked at everything,” Launiere said. “We found some real problems with a few rotations?so we’re looking to try some different things, trying to protect our outside hitters more.”

The result of that analysis suggested that a few changes to the Utes’ rotation could make the difference between a win and a loss for the Utes.

It also brought about a new dynamic to practice. The Ute coaching staff began keeping statistics of every offensive drill in practice. Upon completion of the drill, each player’s hitting percentage was read aloud. For Launiere, the hope behind the statistical emphasis is that the Utes can improve upon their offensive efficiency and their next-to-last hitting percentage (.167) in the Mountain West Conference.

“Just trying to look at what could make even a two-percent difference in those three rotations,” Launiere said. “We don’t need to play harder and coach harder, we need to play smarter and coach smarter.”

Defensively, the Utes have remained tough, which has kept them competitive throughout the conference schedule. The Utes lead the conference in hitting percentage allowed (.159) and are in the top portion of the conference rankings in team digs and blocks. To capitalize on their defense, Launiere and the Utes are looking for just a little more consistency elsewhere.

“I think we’ve worked on being mindful (in practice) so that it’s not just a lot of repetitions, but the right kind of repetitions,” senior Kate Robison said.

To start of the second go-around through their conference opponents, the Utes will travel on their easiest out-of-state road trip in terms of logistics and travel, because it is the only single-game out-of-state road trip of the year.

“It’s nice, honestly,” Launiere said. “Playing back-to-back games on the road is really difficult. We’re going to be in a hotel room for two days and not have to move. Just have to get up for one match.”

Opponent-wise, the trip to Colorado Springs, Colo., will be one of the Utes’ hardest.

As if Colorado State (13-4, 7-1 MWC) needed anymore motivation to beat the Utes, Utah is the one team the Rams didn’t beat on their first time through the Mountain West Conference spin cycle.

For the Utes, their win over Colorado State on Sept. 19 was their first in conference play, and it helped act as a springboard for a four-game win streak. This time around the Utes are looking to bounce back from a homestand that saw them drop three games out of four tries.

To beat the Rams, the Utes won’t only have to deal with Mekena Barnes — who leads the conference in blocks per game (1.78) and is second in hitting percentage (.419) — but also the trademark athleticism that any Colorado State team brings to a match.

“They’re very athletic, they’re quick and they keep the pressure on you,” Lanire said of Colorado State. “They just play a real aggressive, athletic, quick game so you can’t relax on them at all. They really don’t let you off the hook too often.”

The match is set for Saturday at 7 p.m. and can be followed by going to

[email protected]

Leave a Comment

Comments (0)

We welcome feedback and dialogue from our community. However, when necessary, The Daily Utah Chronicle reserves the right to remove user comments. Posts may be removed for any of the following reasons: • Comments on a post that do not relate to the subject matter of the story • The use of obscene, threatening, defamatory, or harassing language • Comments advocating illegal activity • Posts violating copyrights or trademarks • Advertisement or promotion of commercial products, services, entities, or individuals • Duplicative comments by the same user. In the case of identical comments only the first submission will be posted. Users who habitually post comments or content that must be removed can be blocked from the comment section.
All The Daily Utah Chronicle Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *