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UWA volleyball welcomes fresh faces

Published 9:21am Wednesday, August 7, 2013

The University of West Alabama Volleyball fans will see a new style of play this upcoming season, as the Tigers welcome new head coach Jordan Lay and nine new players.

“Nine fresh faces is a tough thing for any team to adjust to. These girls are coming in here to compete for a starting spot and that inspires an environment of competitiveness,” Lay said.

“However, we have fantastic leadership on this team. All 14 of these athletes understand that we will be competing with each other day in and day out, but they also know that this will make us that much better come game time.”

Five players return from last year’s squad which will help build the foundation for the 2013 season. These players include outside hitter’s Sadie Beam, Morgan Ray, Carly Wheeling, middle blocker Abigail McKenzie and Defensive Specialist Cynthia Smith.

“What blows me away about Abby, Carly, Cynthia, Sadie, and Morgan is how eager and willing they have been to listen and buy in to what we are selling,” said Lay. “It amazes me how quickly they’ve adjusted and taken to the new coaching style and vision. I’m very confident in their leadership and dedication to what we are building here.”

Coach Lay brings with him impressive credentials to UWA. He was named the 2012 Southern State Athletic Conference coach of the year at his former school, Belhaven University.

Lay has also presented a strong recruiting ability. Already a successful southeastern recruiter while at Belhaven, he also brings with him connections from other regions.

“The southeast is saturated with a huge amount of athletes and universities. It’s important for us to reach beyond our region to find the best athletes for our program,” Lay said.

“We’ve already been successful in recruiting from the mid-west and the west coast. While there are quality athletes in the southeast, it is imperative that we recruit in all regions to stay competitive on a national level.”

The Tigers will play their first home games of the 2013 season in the newly renovated Pruitt Hall, which promises to add to the excitement of the new team, new coach, and new style of play. Coach Lay and his team also have big plans for their fans in hopes to provide a strong home court advantage.

“The fans are what drive us as athletes. When they are loud we play better,” said Lay said.

“We plan to have a fan club. These will be our 14 most dedicated fans, handpicked by each one of our players. They will get t-shirts and other awesome perks. But we truly want all of our fans to be loud and cheer on our players at every match. Volleyball is a game of momentum and our fans help keep that momentum rolling for us.”

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