Three seniors on the University of Utah volleyball team were recognized on senior night, which took place Saturday, for the work they have put into building the program as Utes. Adora Anae, Carly Trueman and Tawnee Luafalemana each took different paths to get to Utah, but they will finish their collegiate playing experience together.
Trueman has played multiple positions while on the team, and became the 18th player in the program’s history to reach the 1,000 kill club. Luafalemana won two national championships on two different teams at the junior college level before joining the Utes. And Anae has written her name into history books by becoming Utah’s all time leader in kills.
“It’s the number one thing I enjoy about this job is watching the players come in as freshmen or juniors as Tawnee did and to watch them grow as a volleyball player,” Launiere said. “It’s amazing to see how much bigger, stronger, faster they get, how much more skilled, volleyball IQ, all those things that helps them become a better volleyball player. But, more importantly, watching them grow from little freshmen that signed their letter of intent or coming from a junior college, to where they’re really strong, confident women, that are going to be finishing with a degree from the University of Utah and have played for one of the top teams in the country.”
For Launiere, each player has brought something different to the nationally ranked Utah team. When talking about Trueman, Launiere said she is quiet, but she is a determined athlete.
“She is a very intelligent kid who really gets what is going on,” Launiere said. “When Carly speaks, people listen. She doesn’t speak a lot, but when she does, you know she’s put a lot of thought into it.”
Luafalemana was a player, that from the moment Launiere met her, she wanted her to be on her team because of her ability to meet every challenge that she faces.
“I don’t know how else to define her, but she is a winner,” Launiere said. “She has the most positive outlook on life and that comes from her family. They are great competitors and very loyal, positive people. It came through with her the first time I talked with her. Everything I thought she could be she [has] brought to this program. There was a reason why two junior colleges won a national championship with Tawnee on the team.”
Anae, who according to Launiere is a humble competitor, believes her best attribute is that she knows that winning is about her team, and not about her.
“Besides her physical talent, she has a tremendous amount of it, Adora is a great competitor,” Launiere said. “Her 29 kills against UCLA, I think is the perfect example of the power that Adora posses. I told the whole team their powerful beyond measure, and I think that is a good way to explain Adora. She doesn’t like to lose. She is a person who will do whatever it takes to win and sometimes that is challenging, and mostly it’s what you want on your team.”