Women’s Volleyball prepares for season with Alumni exhibition

The Nanooks women’s volleyball team are preparing for a grind this year after a warmup against former UAF players. The team, with Head Coach Brian Scott, got a good look at some of the lineups they will use for this upcoming season.

“We’re a little bit rusty,” Scott said after the Alumni game on Saturday. “It’s good for us to be able to find out who we are, and to find out we’re made of.”

Some of the newest Nanooks got to strut their stuff in the exhibition game. They played three sets against the Alumni team, in front of fans who came out to see their home team in action. One of the standout players was junior college transfer Angela Molesworth. Molesworth and other outside hitters will be looking to fill some big shoes, as they come to the team following Sam Harthun, who led the Great Northwest Athletic Conference in all-time kills. Harthun graduated after achieving the record last season. Molesworth showed poise on the net, albeit in a preseason game, but some of the hits came down with force.

Molesworth comes in with a .329 hitting percentage from last season, placing her 27th in the National Collegiate Athletics Association Division II.

Rachel Nichols also arrived from the ranks of junior college and dove to the ground to keep the ball alive for play after play. She is going to be the primary setter for the Nanooks based on her performance. Nichols came from Salt Lake Community College, where she led with 1,061 assists last year which was ranked 16th best out of all junior college players.

Paola Oliver-Otero, a freshman from San Juan, Puerto Rico, makes another intriguing addition to the Nanooks. Oliver-Otero will be primarily playing behind senior Megan Olsen on the depth chart, but she demonstrated a serve with top spin, which is useful for throwing off opposing teams. Oliver-Otero will have time to learn, but she has the tools to be good from the service line.

One thing that was certain, was the Nanooks have become a taller team.

“We do have a couple of kids that got a few more inches,” Scott said.

Molesworth, freshman Kim Wong and freshman Tatum Upchurch are all new players who stand above five feet ten inches. The added height should give the Nanooks more options to help set up blocks and defensive strategies.

The Nanooks open their season on Sept. 2 at the Hawaii Invitational against Hawaii Pacific University. Their first home game is against Seattle Pacific on Sept. 15, which will also be their GNAC opener.

“Well ready or not, it’s here,” Scott said of the upcoming season. “I think we’re getting better every day in the gym and I think we’ll be ready to roll.”

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