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Roughrider volleyball team hosts meet-and-greet with community

The 2016 Yavapai College volleyball team poses for a photo after a meet and greet with local community members and fans Monday, Aug. 8. (Brian M. Bergner Jr./The Daily Courier)

The 2016 Yavapai College volleyball team poses for a photo after a meet and greet with local community members and fans Monday, Aug. 8. (Brian M. Bergner Jr./The Daily Courier)

PRESCOTT – The Yavapai College volleyball team held a “meet and greet” with local community members Monday on the eve of their first official practice for the 2016 season.

Four sophomore returners, including starters Jordan Tilley and Iva Alebic, along with 11 incoming freshman were on hand to meet a group of over 50 fans in attendance and introduce themselves.

Coming off the program’s first NJCAA national championship tournament appearance in November 2015, Tilley said she’s more than ready to play volleyball this season.

“I’m so excited to be playing with these new girls, my new teammates, my new sisters,” Tilley said. “I worked a ton with the workouts coach gave me, and I worked out on my own. I was busy all summer.”

Tilley said the entire group is committed to going farther than the Roughriders did last season when they lost to No. 2-ranked Western Nebraska (25-13, 25-13, 25-25) in the first round of nationals.

“We’re going to continue our work to prepare for the season, and do extra to go farther than we did last year,” Tilley said.

Two of those new “teammates” Tilley spoke of include Flagstaff High School graduate Lauren Ulibarri, and local Prescott High School product Bailey Anderson.

Ulibarri said she committed to Yavapai because of how welcoming the players were last year.

“It’s going to be a big step up practicing from high school to college, but I’m excited for that transition,” Ulibarri said.

As for Anderson, she chose the Roughriders because of the coaching staff.

“I love how they coach their girls, and their players always say they learn so much from them. That will help me in my volleyball career,” Anderson said, adding that she’s hoping to continue her playing career in Utah after Yavapai.

“I want to try and play at a school up in Utah, either Dixie State or Southern Utah. That’s what I’m trying to push for,” Anderson said.

Anderson said so far, playing in college is a completely different experience than high school.

“Our first practice is tomorrow, but we do workouts together. It’s tough. I never really worked out in high school, I didn’t need to,” Anderson said. “But now in college, we get new workouts every week.”

With the first official practice taking place today, Yavapai has five days to prepare for the ACCAC Pre-Season Jamboree on Saturday, Aug. 13.

The Roughriders will play Embry-Riddle in a scrimmage match Tuesday, Aug. 16, and open the 2016 season with Mesa Community College on Wednesday, Aug. 24.

UPCOMING SEASON PREVIEW

Look for a full write-up and in-depth look at the Yavapai volleyball team’s upcoming 2016 season in the Thursday, Aug. 18, edition of The Daily Courier.

Brian M. Bergner Jr. is a sports writer and columnist for The Daily Courier. Follow him on Twitter, Instagram, Periscope and SoundCloud at @SportsWriter52, or on Facebook at @SportsAboveTheFold. Reach him by phone at 928-445-3333, ext. 1106.

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