Not every team starts their season firing on all cylinders. It can take time to make the necessary adjustments to find their identity. Volleyball has found that identity, and it is helping them play lights out. Head coach Dave Fleming is coaching a great volleyball squad with talented players, and they are a team that won’t go away easily.

The team has played to a 16-6 record so far, clinching a spot in the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference (RMAC) tournament. They are 10-4 in conference play and are currently fifth in the RMAC standings. They’ve handled their business in non-conference play with a 6-2 record. Ten of their 16 total wins have come in straight sets, showing this team has the ability to put teams away with ease. The team has turned it up a notch, playing to a four-game win streak, and capturing their last four matches in straight sets. They have won their last nine sets by at least seven points.

It’s a testament to how well the coaching and talent are coming together. They have outscored their opponents by 228 points. In a win over Westminster, the team had 47 kills, good for a .389 hit percentage, their best mark since 2012. It has been an all-around effort in every match this season for the Mavericks, receiving contributions from multiple players.

Bryce Reedy | The Criterion

The team has welcomed excellent pay from MacKenzie Edwards and Samantha Ritter. Edwards currently ranks second in RMAC for kills, averaging 3.99 kills per set. She has also been named RMAC’s Offensive Player of the Week twice this season. Ritter has been named RMAC’s Setter of the Week two times. It is her first year as the starting setter for the Mavericks, and she currently leads the team in double-doubles with 10. Her 10.35 assist average is good for sixth in the RMAC.

Other players such as Alyssa Chutka and Taylor Woods are helping the Mavericks find success. Chutka was named RMAC offensive Player of the Week, and Woods ranks second in the RMAC with her 4.84-dig per set average.

Fleming has coached up quite the offense. The team averages 13.2 kills per set, and are outpacing their opponents in many offensive categories. It is not just the offense for the Mavericks, but they bring it defensively as well.

What makes this team so special is that it isn’t just one person leading the charge every match. Fans can come to the matches expecting contributions from everyone. Watching a team like this come together, while bringing spirit and excitement into every match is a welcomed sight.

To be able to clinch a playoff spot with four matches still to be played and four weeks left is nothing to shy away from. It’s a great accomplishment. One that takes dedication and hard work, but also a passion for the game that only a few may understand.

In the classroom, the student-athletes are doing their part. They have 13 members on the RMAC’s All Academic lists, which leads the conference, and three members on the first-team list: Edwards, Ritter, and Woods.

The Mavericks remaining schedule is a tough one. Their next opponents all rank in the top six in the RMAC. To be honest, the Mavericks shouldn’t be concerned over that fact. They know other teams in the RMAC are talented, but so are they. The Mavericks have played to their talent level all year long, and they are led by a winning coach in Fleming.

This team has many accolades this season, and it’s no secret they are striving for more. What everyone should know by now, is this team is capable of anything.

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Josue Perez is a junior mass communication student. He is from Montrose, Colorado. He began writing on staff for The Criterion in the fall of 2017 and will be assistant sports editor in the spring. He has a passion for sports and wishes to pursue a career in sports journalism.

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