Eugene, OR-- T-minus 11 days until Oregon volleyball begins the 2019 regular season. Facing off against UC Irvine next Friday, the Ducks will showcase why they were ranked as the 11th best team in the nation. But with 10 out of the 14 players on the roster being freshmen, there are still many uncertainties.
Returning players Ronika Stone, Brooke Nuneviller, Willow Johnson and Taylor Borup look to lead the team early on in the season.
"Last year I had to take a position as a leader.. being a leader in the back-court," Nuneviller explained. "I've tried to be a leader throughout my whole life. It's something that I want to do, to help the team."
At the same time, they want the newer players to grow.
"They have great raw talent," Johnson said. "Now that Matt is actually coaching them, and we're not coaching ourselves, it's gonna be great to see how much they grow just in this one season."
That talent will get an opportunity to step-up during the first few games of the season, or even longer, with Senior Taylor Borup out with an ankle injury and no timetable set for a return.
"If she's healthy, she's an All-American," said head coach Matt Ulmer. "If she doesn't make it back it would be a bummer, but this team has an opportunity to be very special. If she is able to come in and contribute, then I think that adds a whole other level to us."