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Competition fuels optimism ahead of UNO volleyball season opener
VOLLEYBALL

Competition fuels optimism ahead of UNO volleyball season opener

Claire Mountjoy

Claire Mountjoy returns for UNO volleyball as the reigning Summit League defensive player of the year.

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Matt Buttermore is ready to start a new season and see how his team's depth plays out.

UNO opens at 4 p.m. Saturday at Iowa State. The Mavericks also will play Drake in Ames on Sunday.

UNO, 13-6 last season, graduated only one starter, but Buttermore said there's been good competition for all the starting spots.

"If you're not where you want to be on the depth chart, keep working. We have a deep crew. They do a good job in practice of getting after it," said Buttermore, who enters his third season as UNO's coach.

The Mavs have multi-year starters back in right-side hitter Sadie Limback (4.08 kills per set last season), setter Sami Clarkson (10.57 assists per set) and libero Claire Mountjoy, who was last season's Summit League defensive player of the year.

Rylee Marshall has started the past two seasons at middle blocker. Alexa Blase, Rachel Fairbanks and McKenna Ruch all have starting experience at outside hitter. Buttermore said outside hitter Marriah Buss, a Wichita State transfer, also has had a nice preseason.

"Outside and middle are probably the tightest spots for us right now. We'll see how that pans out over the next month or so," Buttermore said. "It makes for some tough decisions, but it makes practice fun."

Buttermore also wants his team to block and serve more consistently than it did last season.

"I think we're heading in the right direction there," he said.


Omaha World-Herald: Local Sports

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