Ute Briefs (4/11)


The U women’s volleyball team added another piece to what head coach Beth Launiere hopes will be a rebuilt contender for a Mountain West Conference championship.

On Wednesday, Launiere announced that Cinthia Silva, a juco All-American at Salt Lake Community College, will be joining her team for the 2008 season.

Silvia is a 5-foot-10 outside hitter who was born in Sao Paulo, Brazil. She was named to the NJCAA All-Tournament team after leading the Bruins to a third-place finish and a 44-2 record overall.

Silva led her conference with 3.87 kills per game and will help fill the offensive void by departed seniors Whitney Webb, Kate Robison and Hilary Taylor.

Silva joins 6-foot-3 freshman middle blocker Miranda Bradshaw (Payson, Utah), 6-foot setter Abby Smith (Phoenix) and highly touted 6-foot-1 outside hitter Sarah Hibbert (Anchorage, Alaska).

While Silva and Hibbert figure to significantly help Utah’s need on offense, Smith fills Utah’s even bigger need at setter. Smith’s height and experience will allow Launiere to run more of her preferred 5-1 offense, as opposed to the 4-2 setter-by-committee system she had to use last season.

Also returning for the Utes will be 6-foot-7 middle blocker Emillie Toone, who sat out 2007 with a season-long knee injury. Toone was named an AVCA All-American honorable mention after finishing second in the nation in blocks in 2006.

Tony Pizza


After a strong showing last weekend at the Cougar and Stanford Invitationals, the Utah women’s track and field team will split up to compete in both the JJK Invitational at UCLA and the Wildcat Invitational in Ogden, Utah.

The majority of the competing athletes will be at the JJK Invitational.

Chelsea Shapard is expected to perform well as she finished first in the 400-meter at the Cougar Invitational. The 4×400-meter relay team is also expected to have a strong showing after their first-place performance at last week’s competition.

Also look for Chelsea DiGrazia and Lauren Endersen to come out strong as both athletes achieved personal records in the 1,500-meter and 5,000-meter run, respectively.

“After a nice opening weekend, we will be looking for some big improvements at UCLA,” Utah head coach Kyle Kepler said. “Like everyone, we have some athletes who are right where they should be and others who need to step it up.”

The JJK Invitational will span today and Saturday while the Wildcat Invitational will be held all day on Saturday.

James Boehly