Photo by Julia Maenius

After competing in the quarterfinals in the Conference USA Championship and
completing the 2018 season with a winning record, 19-8, the UTSA volleyball team is looking to
improve their records with the start of the 2019 season.

“Our focus is to find the right parts right now,” head coach Laura Neugebauer-Groff said.
“We are very young and are returning quite a few players, but we are missing two major parts,
our starting setter and libero.”

The Roadrunners will be returning 11 players this season with three seniors on the front
row and one defensive specialist.

“It’s so competitive right now, so the day in and day out competition is huge for us,”
Groff said. “I think two people who have taken a lead are Mia Ybarra, a sophomore, and Kara
Teal, a senior. They are such a tight unit, if we are doing the right things then we don’t need
anybody to lead us, just do your job.”

Welcoming four freshmen to the team, the ‘Runners are strengthening their offensive
game with a new setter and hitters.

“All four of them just get better everyday, and it’s really exciting, the athleticism, the size
and the volleyball skills they bring,” Groff said.

The previous seasons have brought the ‘Runners to the C-USA Championship, and the
team is looking to continue that streak with the help of the new teammates.
“Your goals are always to win more than you lost, and our goals are always to win a
conference championship, but right now our goals are to be better every single day,” Groff said.

“Last year we started in a hole a lot and had to play catch up, therefore we had a lot of five set
matches. Hopefully we can eliminate that, and to get there we are really focusing on our first
touch and our serve and pass game. We can have a weapon with our serves and our defensive
specialists and outside hitters we feel like our first touch can be really good.”

Looking towards the season, the ‘Runners are motivated to face each team and achieve
their goal of a conference championship.

“Rice won last year, and they are returning almost their entire team and have a couple
transfer kids, and they are going to be really tough,” Groff said. “We can’t focus just on them,
we have to focus on everybody. Everybody is going to be much better, but quite a few [teams]
lost seniors just like we did, so I think everything is up for grabs.”

Bringing in a new team dynamic and the mantra of “the power of a positive team,”
UTSA volleyball is eager to begin the new season.

“We are very successful because our team culture is huge,” Groff said. “This is the
ultimate team sport, so you have to play together to be successful together. I think we have a lot
of talent, they just have to work together and believe, and that’s our job to find the right people
to put out there.”

Related Stories

More from Julia Maenius Staff Writer

Julia Maenius Staff Writer

The Roadrunner volleyball team (2-4) hosted the UTSA Classic in the Convocation Center Sept. 5-7. The ‘Runners faced the University…

More In Sports

Ryan Garza Sports Editor

The UTSA Roadrunners faced the Army West Point Black Knights in the second home game of the season for the…