While the UC Riverside women's volleyball team has a solid core of upperclassmen, it will be the seven new additions to the roster that could take the team to the next level in the Big West Conference.
"Our freshmen are a really good class," head coach Michelle Patton-Coleman said. "They have a lot to learn when it comes to the system and the speed of the game. They just have to get in games and know what it is like to play at the Division I level."
One of the freshmen the team will rely on is outside hitter Marissa Holt, whose physicality will help put balls away.
Christina Escamilla will also be a presence on the outside thanks to her versatility and ability to help on both ends of the court. Nailah Jones, another outside hitter, will put herself in spots to score and has a strong arm. Reilly Bosworth, a junior right-side/middle-hitter transfer from MiraCosta College, is a reliable and smart student-athlete who will be a great teammate.
"The upperclassmen have shown the new student-athletes that it is all about communication," Patton-Coleman said. "Usually, when you have freshmen coming in, they are just taking it all in and observing and they learn from that. We have seen the upperclassmen lead by example and teach them the process."
Freshman middle hitter Ashlyn Blotzer is fast off the ground and has a strong arm, while Isabella Bush manages well at the net and is a good defensive block. Setter Dejah Dade will compete for playing time thanks to her physicality.
"We are trying to make sure that the girls come into the gym ready to learn,” Patton-Coleman said. “I'm trying to teach that culture and that will help us improve. We have a lot of youth on the team, and I think our returners have done a good job with getting our new student-athletes up to speed and to our standards."