USAO’s Volleyball Wraps up its Seventh Season (Photo Essay)

After scoring, Madison Garcia, Samantha Perez, and Alyssa Kooijman turn to their team to share their excitement.

Emily Loughridge, Managing Editor

USAO’s women’s volleyball team came into this season hot off of their best season in program history with a record of 14-18 in the 2021-2022 season. Coach Aminah Orozco just wrapped up her second season as the Drover’s head volleyball coach. This season the Drovers held a 9-17 record, with a 5-15 record in the SAC.

The Drovers showed off their stamina as they took many teams into the fourth and fifth sets. For example, early in the season USAO took Wiley College to the fourth set and emerged victorious. Again, the Drovers took Southwestern Christian College to the fourth set during USAO’s Black Out night. The Drovers also supported breast cancer awareness with their annual Pink Out night during October. At this game the ladies beat Langston University in three quick sets.

The team is graduating six senior players, including Lariah Allen, Marquis King, Allison Patak, Amanda Trevizo, PJ Curry, and Kat Smith. Allen and Smith have been a major part of the Drover’s offense in their years at USAO. Allen led the team in kills with 260; Smith followed her closely with 244. Other notable players with kills include Samantha Perez with 152, Patak with 88, and Laura Barrios Bardi with 80. Madison Garcia, a junior setter, used her soft touch to pick up 518 assists to set up her teammates. Perez followed with 281 assists.

The front row was also dominated by Patak, Smith, and Perez who used their height to block their opponents. Patak led the category with 67 total blocks, Smith followed with 58, and Perez recorded 48 over the season.

The front row is not the only important part in the game of volleyball, USAO’s back row saw a few new faces this year including defensive specialist Soleil Trejo. She made her money in the back row with 309 digs, Allen split her time in the back row to pick up 259, and King aided her team with 184.

While stats are important to look at, a player’s energy on the floor can completely change the game. Garcia and Alyssa Kooijman were captured many times throughout the season expressing their excitement and love for the game. USAO’s volleyball team ended their season November 8th with a hard-fought battle against SAGU. While this was a disappointing loss, the Drovers will return next fall for their eighth season.

Emily Loughridge is a second-year Communications major at the University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma.