UT Arlington volleyball looking to build momentum

Posted Thursday, Aug. 28, 2014  comments  Print Reprints

Have more to add? News tip? Tell us

With four seniors returning, UT Arlington coach Diane Seymour feels she has the tools needed to turn last year’s surprising conference tournament run into sustainable momentum.

She even has an historic anniversary to use as a reminder of the heights UTA’s program used to reach. She just needs her team to buy in, play fast and turn last year’s close call into the school’s first conference title since 2002.

If close calls are a sign of things to come, the 25th anniversary of UTA’s Final Four berth might provide a blueprint for making the leap from good to great.

From 1982-88, under the tutelage of eventual Arizona State athletic director Lisa Love, the UTA volleyball team went 199-78 and made four NCAA Tournament appearances. They earned Sweet 16 berths in 1986 and 1987 before getting into the Elite Eight in 1988.

Seymour was the captain of the 1988 team that climbed to fifth in the polls, but lost to Texas in the regional final. After the loss, Love left UTA for a job at USC, leaving first-year coach Cathy George in charge of the perennial power that just lost two of its most prolific players.

In charge of a team that lacked the same physical size as the top teams in the nation, George led UTA to its first Final Four appearance with a 3-0 sweep of Texas in the regional final.

“We really had to use our speed and tenacity to get an edge on teams that were 6-1 across the board,” George said. “We had to be tough.”

George got UTA to one more NCAA Tournament in her final four years there, and the Mavericks since have returned only twice.

There wasn’t a member of today’s UTA team born when the Mavericks were at their peak, but with festivities planned and former players returning to home games this season, the reminder of past glory is beginning to seep in.

“Looking back to that and seeing that UTA was even up there and seeing that banner whenever we’re practicing is awesome,” said senior Ashley Bennett.

While there isn’t a ton of height on this year’s roster, there’s talent, headlined by returning kill-leader Taylor Gross. She’s among four returning seniors, a powerful lefty (Stacey Koch) and a pair of freshmen (Qiana Canete and Ashlynn Ford) giving the team an athletic mix that should play well in the Sun Belt’s fast-paced style.

“You’re not going to get an easy match out of us, no matter if we’re playing our best volleyball or our worst volleyball,” Seymour said. “You’re going to have to beat us to win a conference title.”

After George proved in 1989 that playing tough and hungry pays, this year’s team has history on its side.

UTA volleyball key dates

Today vs. Incarnate Word, 7 p.m., College Park Center

Sept. 9 vs. Baylor, 6 p.m., College Park Center

Oct. 8 vs. Texas State, 6:30 p.m., College Park Center

Nov. 7 vs. UALR, 6:30 p.m., College Park Center

Nov. 27 Sun Belt tournament, San Marcos

Glory years

1985Love28-4NCAA berth
1986Love29-10NCAA Sweet 16
1987Love32-7NCAA Sweet 16
1988Love30-4NCAA Elite Eight
1989George31-4NCAA Final Four
1990George18-19NCAA berth

Looking for comments?

We welcome your comments on this story, but please be civil. Do not use profanity, hate speech, threats, personal abuse or any device to draw undue attention. Our policy requires those wishing to post here to use their real identity.

Our commenting policy | Facebook commenting FAQ | Why Facebook?

Friday, November 28Full Scoreboard
No games today
Full Scoreboard
Friday, November 28Full Scoreboard
Chicago «109Final | Box
Golden State 11/28 7:00 PM ET
Charlotte TV: CSN-BA, SPSO
New Orleans 11/28 7:30 PM ET
Atlanta TV: FSN-NO, SPSO
Milwaukee 11/28 7:30 PM ET
Dallas 11/28 7:30 PM ET
Toronto TV: FSN-SW, TSN2
LA Clippers 11/28 8:00 PM ET
Orlando 11/28 8:00 PM ET
Indiana TV: FSN-FL, FSN-IN
New York 11/28 8:00 PM ET
Oklahoma City TV: MSG, FSN-OK
Sacramento 11/28 8:30 PM ET
San Antonio TV: CSN-CA, FSN-SW
Phoenix 11/28 9:00 PM ET
Denver TV: FSN-AZ, Altitude
Memphis 11/28 10:00 PM ET
Portland TV: SPSO, CSN-NW
Minnesota 11/28 10:30 PM ET
Full Scoreboard
Week 13Full Scoreboard
Chicago17Final | Box
Detroit «34Gridiron Replay
Philadelphia «33Final | Box
Dallas10Gridiron Replay
Seattle «19Final | Box
San Francisco3Gridiron Replay
San Diego 1:00 PM ET
Baltimore TV: CBS
Cleveland 1:00 PM ET
Buffalo TV: CBS
Tennessee 1:00 PM ET
Houston TV: CBS
Washington 1:00 PM ET
Indianapolis TV: FOX
NY Giants 1:00 PM ET
Jacksonville TV: FOX
Carolina 1:00 PM ET
Minnesota TV: FOX
New Orleans 1:00 PM ET
Pittsburgh TV: FOX
Oakland 1:00 PM ET
St. Louis TV: CBS
Cincinnati 1:00 PM ET
Tampa Bay TV: CBS
Arizona 4:05 PM ET
Atlanta TV: FOX
New England 4:25 PM ET
Green Bay TV: CBS
Denver 8:30 PM ET
Kansas City TV: NBC
Miami 8:30 PM ET
Full Scoreboard
Friday, November 28Full Scoreboard
NY Rangers «3Final | Box
Chicago33rd Prd 9:09 | Box
NY Islanders22nd Prd 13:36 | Box
Washington2TV: MSG, CSN-DC
Winnipeg 11/28 7:00 PM ET
Boston TV: TVA Sports 2, TSN3, NESN
Montreal 11/28 7:00 PM ET
Buffalo TV: RDS, MSG-BUF
Detroit 11/28 7:00 PM ET
New Jersey TV: FSN-DET, MSG+
Carolina 11/28 7:00 PM ET
Vancouver 11/28 7:00 PM ET
Columbus TV: SN-PAC, FSN-OH
Ottawa 11/28 7:30 PM ET
Florida TV: RDS2, TSN5, FSN-FL
Edmonton 11/28 8:00 PM ET
St. Louis TV: SN-W, FSN-MW
Minnesota 11/28 8:30 PM ET
Dallas TV: FSN-N+, FSN-SW+
Full Scoreboard