Volleyball season started this past weekend for the Bucs with an exhibition match against USC Upstate. The Bucs traveled to Spartanburg, South Carolina, for the preseason match.

The Bucs met with success, sweeping USC Upstate 3-0 (26-24, 25-22, 25-19).

Senior Alyssa Kvarta (Crown Point, Indiana) led the offense with 35 assists and 9 digs. Defensively, she came away with 2 kills and 2 blocks. Senior Hailey Aguilar (Chicago, Illinois) had a strong defensive effort with 11 digs, while sophomore Marija Popovic (Belgrade, Serbia) was behind her with 6 digs.

Junior Leah Clayton (Danville, Virginia) led the team with 11 kills and 4 digs. Senior AJ Lux (Shelbyville, Indiana) also obtained 4 digs with 9 kills. Seniors Mariah McPartland (Boone, Iowa) and Braedyn Tutton (Courtice, Ontario) both tied with 7 kills each. The Bucs would finish with a .357 hitting percentage, outhitting USC Upstate 43-51.

The Bucs are stacked this year with five freshmen, one sophomore, two juniors and five seniors. With most of the team consisting of freshmen and seniors, the Bucs are loaded with potential and experience. The Bucs have some great leadership this season.

“I’m really pleased with what our practices have looked like,” said Head Coach Lindsey Devine. “The incoming class has worked extremely hard with a positive mindset.”

With this just being an exhibition game, it gives the Bucs a chance to see what they have to offer this season. Even though it was just a scrimmage, it gives the Bucs confidence heading into the regular season.

“It is important to win with each other as a team,” said Devine.

As she prepares to coach the Bucs this season, she makes it a point to have strong communication with her players.

“Relationships with your players will be the foundation for what happens on the court,” she said.

The Bucs start the regular season Aug. 24-25 with the Gamecock Invitational in South Carolina. They will play Clemson, South Carolina and Texas A&M-Corpus Christi.