Middle Blockers

Discussion in 'Volleyball' started by flash34, Oct 12, 2016.

  1. flash34

    flash34 500+ Posts

    So what is going on with Agbaji sitting for the last two gamess. I know she is a freshman and would have redshirted if everyone had remained eligible; however, she had been in the rotation in all games up till Iowa State. Now Ghani has moved to MB the last 2 games...........and Westerlund played some MB at Iowa State. Is it simply that Ghani gives us that huge (and good) MB play that we have been missing? Or is Agbaji hurt. Or both? Ghani hit 10 of 12 tonight against Baylor and had 9 blocks so she may be the answer there. Was Ghani hurt earlier or simply Elliot had other players at OH that he wanted to play. Thoughts?
     
  2. UTexRulz23

    UTexRulz23 100+ Posts

    Bedart-Ghani is just a freak athlete NOT to have on the floor. She'd be our starting OPP if Ebony wasn't there (and she wouldn't have played last year if Ebony had been there). She's too good not to be on the floor. Absent a 6-2, I'm surprised it's taken JE this long to get her out there. I was incredibly pleasantly surprised with Westerlund's offense against ISU. But Johnson brings a lot more defense in blocking to the table. Mirta has started practicing again, so at least we have options. I'd be looking for the best cohesion. The bottom line is that our middle attack has to get more formidable or our offense is too predictable. But yes, Bedart-Ghani is an upgrade over Agbaji. Agbaji has some good defense, but wasn't bringing anything on offense.
     
  3. racerx5908

    racerx5908 1,000+ Posts

    Won't we have a wealth of MBs next year?
    Bedart-Ghani (really OH), Ogbagu, Johnson, Westerlund, Baselovic, Agbaji, Brionne Butler (2017 Freshman)

    I hope the new setter (Ashley Shook) sets a good ball for MBs
     
  4. UTexRulz23

    UTexRulz23 100+ Posts

    Yes all of those will be there (assuming no attrition). But Butler may take on more of a utility role. With PPC leaving, an outside spot opens up. Plus, we're losing Dalton.

    It's a good problem to have, but I wouldn't limit Butler to just a MB. I could see Ebony taking on the OH that PPC did and either Yazzie or Butler switching to Opp. And then there's always a 6-2 possibility.
     
  5. texasdpt

    texasdpt 100+ Posts

    Lexi Sun, the #1 ranked recruit, will be starting in PPC's place imo. She and Micaya are going to be lighting it up on the left pin next year. If Lexi's ball control allows her to play all 6 rotations, she'll be deadly attacking from the back row.

    In a 5-1, I'd like to see a line-up with:
    OH: Micaya, Lexi
    MB: Chiaka, Yaazie
    Opp: Ebony
    S: Ashley
    L: Cat

    I could easily see a 6-2 as well with a line-up of:
    OH: Micaya, Lexi
    MB: Chiaka, Brionne
    Opp: Ebony, Yaazie
    S: Ashley, Riley
    L: Cat
     
  6. racerx5908

    racerx5908 1,000+ Posts

    Has UT ever run the 6-2 well? I remember when Chloe first arrived and we still had Hannah we tried it and then gave up eventually about 1/4 of the way into the season.
     
  7. UTexRulz23

    UTexRulz23 100+ Posts

    Yeah you're right about Lexi. But it's going to be HARD to leave Brionne out. These two recruits have a TON of upside!
     
  8. majorwhiteapples

    majorwhiteapples 5,000+ Posts

    The Volleyball future in Texas is big and bright!!!!
     
  9. Moooooo

    Moooooo 2,500+ Posts

    Texas has run a 6-2 offense in the past. Typically, it has been used early in the season (perhaps as a way to get a few more players some playing time), and then abandoned once conference play began.

    I do recall that in 2014, we ran the 6-2 with Dalton and Collins throughout the entire season, which ended in a loss to BYU in the Final Four at OKC. That probably wouldn't have been possible if not for the transfer of Paulina; she and Khat were our Opposite hitters that season.

    Back when Ashley Engle and Michelle Kocher were around, we ran a modified 6-2 offense in some of the matches in 2009.
     
  10. Moooooo

    Moooooo 2,500+ Posts

    "Athletic" is a term that means different things to different people. While I've never quite thought of Yaazie as having the jumping ability of a Destinee Hooker, Haley Eckerman, Bailey Webster, or Chiaka Ogbogu, what she does have is a powerful armswing. Being 6'4, just doesn't necessarily need a super vertical jump as she will always be one of the tallest players on the court.

    As our middles struggled early on, I was definitely of the mindset that Yaazie needed to be given a chance to play in the middle. I thought perhaps that was being explored in practice, and maybe her lateral quickness wasn't good enough to play middle blocker. I knew she could block on the pins, just wasn't sure how that would translate as a middle blocker. Also, since she is our first and only sub off the bench to play either of the pin hitter positions, I thought perhaps she needed to remain in that role in case Paulina, Micaya, or Ebony were struggling in a match, or needed to exit the court for any reason (injury). But, as with the OL in football, sometimes you just have to prioritize getting your best players on the court, even if they are playing out of their natural position.

    After watching her play middle blocker against ISU, I knew she was there to stay. She was able to handle the quick sets in the middle, and even ran the slide a few times. It wasn't a perfect performance as there were some timing and assignment issues. But, her size, offensive mindset, confidence and power set her apart from our other middle blockers.

    The numbers she put up against Baylor, both hitting-wise and blocking, were just insane for any player, let alone one who was barely playing her second match as a middle blocker. She simply annihilated the ball a couple of times.

    While this is just my opinion, Yaazie definitely seemed to make progress with her fitness during the offseason. And, even from the beginning of the season to now (6 weeks later), she seems to have made more progress in that area. That definitely has to help with skills needed to play in the middle. Luckily, that hasn't affected her power one bit.

    Not gonna worry too much about what this all means for the 2017 season; so much can change between now and then.
     
  11. racerx5908

    racerx5908 1,000+ Posts

    To add a bit about Yazzie. Last year in a game, because we had reached the substitution limit, she was forced to serve and you could tell she was hoping not to serve, but she smiled and got it over the net. This year, she's up and serving with confidence, they must have worked on it with her. I agree that she's a good presence at MB, better than what we were getting out of Orie.

    One last thing, since we sit above and close the team during matches...when the players aren't starting (Johnson or Yazzie or White), they look really, really glum....like they don't see themselves ever getting on the court again. I always think, "Man, I hope they don't transfer"
     

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