UAF Volleyball opens 2021 season in Hawaii
FAIRBANKS, Alaska (KTVF) - The University of Alaska Fairbanks volleyball program look to get their season off to a ‘hot’ start with a four-game road stint in Hawaii beginning Friday. The new look Nanooks will alternate games with Hawaii Pacific University and Chaminade University through Sunday for the University’s first official sporting contest of the 2021-22 athletic year.
“It is going to be great,” said head coach Brian Scott, who is entering his seventh year with the program. “They are [Pacific West] schools and in-region competition is so important when you start talking about the end of the year and trying to get into the national tournament, we have got to be able to go and compete against some in-region completion. It’ll be some tough play, it’ll be fun.”
After playing a condensed, 11-game schedule in 2020, the Nanooks are loaded up with new transfers and an incoming recruiting class that includes former North Pole High School standouts Ainsley Smith and Kinley Erickson.
“It is such a great recruiting class this year I think,” Scott added. “They’re all pushing..at the very least pushing some upperclassmen to be like, ‘Wow I have got to be on my toes this year, because someone is coming after me trying to get my spot’. It has been fun to see that competition and that battle going on in the gym everyday.”
With all NCAA student-athletes receiving an extra year of eligibility due to the COVID-19 pandemic, seniors like Cate Whtiing, Lahra Weber and Emily Moorhead will be spending their fifth year on campus, looking to take the program that was ranked fourth in the recent Great Northwest Athletic Conference preseason poll to new heights.
“I can’t say enough about this group, they have been battling with us now for a long period of time and they have really helped to create a little bit of a turning point here for the program,” Scott said. “I am just excited to be in the trenches with them again this year and going hard.”
Whiting and AveRee Reynolds were named to the 2021 GNAC Volleyball Preseason All-Conference team.
The Blue & Gold will host their first tournament since 2015 when they welcome in Ursuline, Cal State Los Angeles, Colorado State Pueblo and Drury to the Patty Center September 9-11 for the Nanook Classic.
The remainder of the 2021 schedule can be found here.
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