UNO Volleyball sets the stage for ’16 season


August 4th, 2016

The Maverick volleyball team looks to utilize the home court advantage at Baxter Arena (Photo courtesy UNO Athletics)

The Maverick volleyball team looks to utilize the home court advantage at Baxter Arena (Photo courtesy UNO Athletics)

The end of the 2015 season came as the University of Nebraska at Omaha volleyball team was trying on the ‘new digs’ at a new arena. Newly built Baxter Arena on south campus at UNO will serve as the home for nine volleyball matches this season. KVNO’s Brandon McDermott recently spoke to Maverick head coach Rose Shires about the upcoming season and filed this report.

Omaha, NE – After finishing in second place last year (19-13 overall, 12-4 in conference) in the Summit League conference, the UNO Mavericks’ volleyball team is hoping to carry over their winning ways into the new season.

UNO will have to do so without the help of six seniors – five of which played key roles for the Mavs’ over the past few seasons. Head Coach Rose Shires says her team may be a bit young, but they have the hunger to compete.

“I would say we’ve got a 50/50 roster. Fifty percent of our team will be returning players and 50 percent of our team will be new freshman players.”

UNO will need to replace Libero Kimberly Bailey, the reigning Summit League Defensive Player of the Year. Blocker Diane Banderas and outside hitter Kelley Wollak are also gone. But, the Mavs return junior setter Sydney O’Shaughnessy and sophomore Elise Brown, both of whom joined the Summit League all-conference list last year. Coach Shires says her Mavs may not be a team of experience, but they are striving to be a team of performance.

“Our next five-year goal is to consistently be a top 100 team and I think if we can be in the Top 75 to the top 100, as a mid-major,  I think that we’ve really established our program as one of the top programs in the country at the division-I level.”

Shires says the Mavs have an opportunity to have a good Rating Percentage Index (RPI) at the end of the season. The RPI rankings play into the ‘at-large’ berths for the NCAA post-season tournament. So, the better the ranking, the better the shot UNO has to make the D-I playoffs. The UNO squad is circling September 1st as their ‘red letter’ day. Coach Shires says the team hopes for a sell-out and a ‘white out.’

“The highlight for us to open up our home stand is the September 1 match against Iowa State at Baxter arena. Our goal is to sell out Baxter arena on September first and to have a white out in the arena.”

UNO volleyball’s season starts Saturday August 20th with the annual ‘black/white’ scrimmage.  The regular season starts August 26th as UNO travels to Grand Forks to play in the North Dakota tournament for three games against North Dakota, UC Davis and SEC team Ole Miss.

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