The USAO women’s volleyball team entered this season after their best season in program history with a 14-18 record in the 2021-22 season. Coach Aminah Orozco has just completed her second season as Drover’s volleyball head coach. This season, the Drovers were 9-17, with a 5-15 record in the SAC.
The Drovers showed their stamina by taking many teams in the fourth and fifth sets. For example, at the start of the season, USAO took Wiley College in the fourth set and emerged victorious. Once again, the Drovers took Southwestern Christian College to the fourth set at USAO Black Out night. The Drovers also supported breast cancer awareness with their annual Pink Out party in October. In that match, the ladies defeated Langston University in three quick sets.
The team is graduating six senior players, including Lariah Allen, Marquis King, Allison Patak, Amanda Trevizo, PJ Curry and Kat Smith. Allen and Smith played major roles in attacking the Drover during their years in the USAO. Allen led the team in kills with 260; Smith followed closely with 244. Samantha Perez with 152, Patak with 88 and Laura Barrios Bardi with 80 are other notable players. . Perez followed with 281 assists.
The front row was also dominated by Patak, Smith and Perez who used their size to block their opponents. Patak led the category with 67 total blocks, Smith followed with 58 and Perez recorded 48 during the season.
The front line isn’t the only important part of the game of volleyball, the USAO back line has seen a few new faces this year, including defensive specialist Soleil Trejo. She made her money in the back row with 309 digs, Allen split her time in the back row to pick up 259, and King helped her team with 184.
While stats are important to watch, a player’s energy on the ground can be a game-changer. Garcia and Alyssa Kooijman were picked up multiple times throughout the season, expressing their excitement and love for the game. The USAO volleyball team ended its season Nov. 8 with a fierce battle against SAGU. Although a disappointing loss, the Drovers will return next fall for their eighth season.
Emily Loughridge is a second-year communications major at Oklahoma University of Science and Arts.