UAFS will encounter its first nationally-ranked opponent of the season this weekend when the Lady Lions volleyball team competes in the Desert Garden Inn By Wyndham Volleyball Classic
The three-day, six-team event will be hosted by Dixie State at Burns Arena in St. George, Utah, and will feature host Dixie State, UAFS, Adams State, Colorado-Colorado Springs, No. 18 Tarleton State and Western New Mexico.
UAFS will play four matches over the final two days of the classic, which begins on Thursday and concludes on Saturday. UAFS will play Western New Mexico at 10 a.m. and Adams State at 5:30 p.m. on Friday and will play No. 18 Tarleton State at 3 p.m. and host Dixie State at 8 p.m. on Saturday.
Live statistics and live stream will be available by visiting Tournament Central.
UAFS is coming off a sweep of in-state, nonconference foe University of Arkansas-Monticello on Tuesday during the Lady Lions' home opener. The Lady Lions (4-1) have yet to play a match longer than three sets with sweeps of East Central, Texas A&M-Kingsville, New Mexico Highlands and UAM and a three-set loss to Angelo State.
It will be only the second meeting between UAFS and Western New Mexico and the first since 2004, which UAFS won. It will be the first-ever meetings between UAFS and Adams State and Dixie State, while it will be the fifth meeting between UAFS and Tarleton State, which UAFS leads 3-1.
Tarleton State, which UAFS will join in the Lone Star Conference next season, is the first of four currently nationally-ranked teams UAFS will play this season.
The TexAnns (3-1) debuted at No. 18 in the preseason AVCA Coaches Poll and remained there after opening the season with sweeps of Black Hills State, Harding and Oklahoma Baptist and a three-set loss to then-No. 16 Central Oklahoma in the Tarleton State Invitational.
UAFS also will play No. 21 Missouri Western State and No. 14 Central Missouri State on Friday, Sept. 7, on the second day of the Newman Invitational at Fugate Gymnasium in Wichita, Kan., and will host No. 19 Central Oklahoma on Tuesday, Sept. 11, at the Stubblefield Center.
The Lady Lions are hitting at a .216 clip through the first five matches of the season with 191 kills on 565 attempts with 69 errors. Junior outside hitter Anna Demmer leads the team in kills (57) and kills per set (3.80). Freshman setter Taylor Stoops leads the team in assists (132), assists per set (8.8), aces (five) and aces per set (.33).
Defensively, UAFS is holding opponents to a meager .103 hitting percentage with 167 kills on 604 attempts with 105 errors. Senior middle hitter Debra Rogers leads the team in blocks (13) and blocks per set (0.87), and freshman libero Pilar Onstad leads the team in digs (75) and digs per set (five).
Western New Mexico (1-3), which is a member of the Lone Star Conference, began the season with a three-set loss to Alaska-Anchorage, a four-set win against Barton College and four-set losses to Michigan Tech and Alaska-Fairbanks in last weekend's University of Alaska-Anchorage Invitational.
The Mustangs are hitting at a .120 clip with 174 kills on 576 attempts with 105 errors. Freshman outside hitter Bria Augustine leads the team in kills (50) and kills per set (3.33). Western New Mexico is holding opponents to a 0.175 hitting percentage with 178 kills on 537 attempts with 84 errors. Junior middle hitter Deyzha Samuelu leads the team in blocks (16) and blocks per set (1.23), and Augustine leads the team in digs (49) and digs per set (3.27).
Adams State (2-2), which is a member of the Rocky Mountain Conference, began the season with a three-set loss to West Texas A&M, a five-set win against Eastern New Mexico, a four-set loss to No. 6 Rockhurst University and a five-set win against Emporia State in the West Texas A&M Lady Buff Classic. The Grizzlies played Colorado-Colorado Springs in Thursday's opening match of the Desert Garden Inn Classic.
The Grizzlies are hitting at a 0.196 clip with 201 kills on 556 attempts with 92 errors. Junior outside hitter Hanna Goddard leads the team in kills (52) and kills per set (3.06). Junior setter Rachael Ringler leads the team in assists (163), assists per set (9.59), aces (six) and aces per set (.35).
Adams State is holding opponents to a .217 hitting percentage with 215 kills on 531 attempts with 100 errors. Sophomore middle hitter Shannon Mulkey and freshman middle hitter Atira Jells lead the team in blocks (nine), and Jells leads the team in blocks per set (.60). Sophomore defensive specialist Mackenzie Swanson leads the team in digs (64) and digs per set (3.76).