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Sports Report

V-ball's new faces hope to reach same places

Written by Zach Hurdle, UTD Mercury

Volleyball will be taking off soon as fall semester gets underway.

The volleyball team saw significant changes within its makeup over the course of the offseason.

Nine new players being added to this year's squad.

"There's more depth now," Head Coach Marci Sanders said. "In the past we've always had a smaller squad."

With all the new faces, Sanders went on to say the team may have less experience, which comes with being younger. Seven players on this year's team are freshmen. But potentially has the talent to make it just as far as last year.

"My expectations are the same as they were last season," Sanders said.

The Comets advanced to last year's American Southwest Championship (ASC) game before falling to Hardin Simmons in a 3-1 series. The Comets won game one of that series 30-17. Hardin Simmons won the next three games 30-26, 30-24, 30-28. UTD ended the season with a 24-7 record, falling short of taking the Comets' first-ever volleyball championship.

Many players left that team for various reasons, whether for graduation or other personal reasons, and Sanders said the squad is ranked lower in the eyes of other teams than before.

Sanders said it's easier to "start low and go high" rather than having other teams focus on UTD as the big threat of the schedule.

In other words, the team can use the underdog status as an advantage.

"The schedule is already much tougher this year, anyway," Sanders said.

After an opening scrimmage Aug. 25 against Southwestern Assemblies of God University, UTD faces some of the toughest games on the schedule, according to Sanders.

The Comets have games against Southwestern University and Emory University, along with an early rematch of last year's ASC title game against Hardin Simmons in the opening weeks of the season.

Sanders hopes that some early victories against those teams will launch the Comets into the national rankings.

Practices began Wednesday Aug. 15. The team participated in two practices and a team-building session in the evening.

The Comets' first true home games are on Sept. 21-22 with games against Mississippi College and East Texas Baptist University respectively.

The ASC Crossover Tournament will be in Richardson Sept. 28-29 and followed by an Oct. 12-13 outing in Austin at Concordia University in Texas.

The Comets' final home game is against LeTourneau University Oct. 23.

If UTD qualifies, the ASC Championship tournament will be Nov. 2-3 and played at whichever East Division is the No. 1 seed.

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