ASU women's volleyball has big plans for 2017 season

The Sun Devils are honing their skills in preparation for Sun Devil Volleyball Classic

After a tumultuous 2016 season, the ASU women’s volleyball program is looking to shake things up as they prepare for the Sun Devil Volleyball Classic this weekend.

During the off-season, the team added 10 new players to their roster including senior transfer outside hitter Isabel Miller, who competed previously at Boise State and San Diego Mesa College. The new group features five freshmen: Griere Hughes, Danica Krstonošic, Shelbie Dobmeier, Megan Beedie and Mary Vidal

To prepare for matches against Weber State and North Dakota State this Friday, the Sun Devils are working to limit their mistakes. Senior middle blocker Oluoma Okaro said that the team has implemented a new practice drill to minimize such errors.

“We have to score 19 points before we make 6 errors (in practice) and every time we don’t make it we have to run,” Okaro said. “I think that will really translate to the game on Friday.”

Junior transfer Peyton Grahovac noted that along with being quick and smart on the court, the team also needs to trust the coaches' judgment. 

“We’re all learning a new type of volleyball, so we have to accept that it may be ugly at first but eventually it will get better,” Grahovac said. “It works and we know it does, we just have to trust the process.”

Doing so will definitely lead the team to success, but senior libero Halle Harker said that the newcomers need to be mindful of the long season grind. 

“We all know what to expect; we know that in October our bodies are gonna not wanna come down to the court and play,” Harker said. “But these freshmen don’t know, so I think that’s a hurdle that we’re gonna have to overcome.”

Okaro said that the team needs to take care of their bodies above all, mainly to avoid injuries. 

“Injuries are always a hurdle because for one moment you have the lineup and ... then your starting player gets injured and everything gets turned around,” Okaro said. 

Although many of the players have unique goals in mind, the main objectives of the season are to attend the NCAA Tournament and to be one of the top programs in the Pac-12.

Harker has taken a leadership role on the team and hopes that she can have a meaningful influence on her teammates. She knows that her role on the team is much bigger than putting up numbers.

“Obviously everyone wants to aspire to be in my position, like the Pac-12 defensive player of the year, and I aspire to do that but I also know as well that my role is so much more than just producing results,” Harker said. 

Okaro put up some impressive stats for the 2016 season as well, including a total of 336 kills, and a team-high 16 solo blocks. Okaro finished out her junior year as a 2016 All-Pac-12 Honorable Mention, and said she strives to be an All-American.

Harker has confidence that the team can meet their goal of reaching the NCAA tournament, but it will not be an easy trek.

“It’s gonna be a grind but the teams that do what they don’t want to do in those moments are the ones that make incredible performances,” Harker said. “We know we’re capable of that, and if we focus on ourselves then the results will come.” 

The Sun Devil Women’s Volleyball team will compete in their first regular season tournament, the Sun Devil Volleyball Classic, Aug 25-26. The tournament will begin on Friday at 11 a.m. vs Weber State. Following that match the Sun Devils will take on North Dakota State at 7 p.m. The tournament will conclude on Saturday at 5 p.m. against Boise State.

Reach the reporter at or follow @KellyB1459 on Twitter. 

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