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UMW Volleyball 2023 Season Preview

UMW Sports Press Release

DILLON, Mont. — The University of Montana Western Volleyball Team is set to begin the

2023 campaign next week with their first road trip of the season. They were recently picked to finish third in the Frontier Conference preseason polls in a vote of the league’s coaches.

Despite falling to a tough Rocky Mountain team in the conference tournament championship at the end of the 2022 campaign, the Bulldogs had their first double-digit win season since 2016. The Bulldogs also had their highest winning percentage since the 2005, finishing 12-17 overall.

The Bulldogs return 12 players from last season's squad, including all four 2022 all-conference

players and all-freshman team honoree. “We are excited to start this year with a lot of

experienced athletes and pick up this season where we left off.” Head Coach Katie Lovett said. “The team worked extremely hard in the off-season and pushed each other to get out of their comfort zones. We have a tough schedule as always, but I believe in each of these players to give their full effort and rise up to the challenge.”

First team all-conference outside hitter Jazi Smith, a 5’11 junior from Mossyrock, Wash., found

herself on the single season leaderboards after last season, slotting in at third in UMW history for single season kills (305) and kills per set (2.88). Smith ranked third in the conference for kills per set after she averaged 2.88. “Jazi really got into a groove the last half of the 2022 season and hasn't slowed down since.” Lovett added. “We expect her to be one of our go-to hitters this season and she brings an incredible work ethic to the court.”

Kelsey Goddard, a 5'7 junior from Las Vegas, Nev., returns after earning second team all-

conference accolades. She totaled 535 total digs last season (fourth in the conference), surpassing 1,000 career digs during the Frontier Conference Tournament at just a sophomore. Jordan Olson, a 6'1 sophomore from Billings, Mont., earned her spot on the all-conference freshman team last season and will look to build on her early success into 2023.

The Bulldogs bring back both middle blockers in Danyel Martin and Peyton Vogl. Martin, a 6'2

redshirt junior from McAllister, Mont. earned second team all-conference honors in 2022. Martin played in 26 matches last season, had an impressive .245 hitting percentage and totaled 82 blocks. Vogl, a 6’0 junior from Townsend, Mont., returns as a key asset for the Bulldogs. Vogl tallied 213 kills last season, ranking third in the Bulldogs arsenal. She also led UMW in blocks with 96, ranking fifth in the conference for blocks per set with 0.91.

Rounding out the returners for the Bulldogs is Kaylee Fritz and KayLee Kopp. Kopp, a 5’9

redshirt senior from Fort Collins, Colo., totaled 2.52 kills per set and sat in second on the team

for kills with 267. Kaylee Fritz, a 5’7 junior from Kalispell, Mont., had a big year in 2022. Back

on October 20th, Fritz surpassed 1,000 career assists after just two seasons. She earned player of the week honors three-times while recording 940 assists during the 2022 campaign.

Montana Western also welcomes transfer Morgyn Harrison this season. Harrison joins the

Bulldogs from Western Washington University where she utilized her redshirt season last year.

She is a 2022 graduate of Chelan High School where she was a two-time state champion who

earned All-State honors twice. “Morgyn is our only transfer and will add depth to our defense.

She has phenomenal range in defense and can read the offense with ease.” Lovett said.

Lovett announced five incoming athletes in the 2023 recruiting class back on April 26th. To view the full class, click here.

Looking Ahead

The Bulldogs open the season on Friday, August 17 with a scrimmage at North Idaho College.

Following the scrimmage, they will take on Walla Walla University and Lewis-Clark State

College in a tri-match hosted by Lewis-Clark State College in Lewiston, Idaho from Aug. 18

through Aug. 19.

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