4A state volleyball - Lehi vs. Salem Hills 02

Lehi senior Lydia Montague (13) spikes the ball during the 4A state volleyball match against the Salem Hills Skyhawks at the UCCU Center on Thursday, Oct. 25, 2018, in Orem.

It’s shaping up to be an exciting season for the Snow College volleyball team and four former high school stars from the area get to be a part of the ride.

The Badgers, which are ranked No. 6 according to the NJCAA National Volleyball Preseason Rankings, feature sophomore libero/defensive specialist Hannah Edwards and freshman libero/defensive specialist Hailee Oldroyd from Salem Hills, freshman middle blocker Lydia Montague from Lehi and freshman libero/defensive specialist Ellie Martindale from Wasatch.

Here is the complete press release from Snow College as the Badgers prepare for the upcoming season:

“For the first time in Snow College volleyball history, the Badgers will enter the season ranked No. 6, according to the NJCAA National Volleyball Preseason Rankings. The preseason rankings mark the fourth straight season Snow College has started the season ranked among the top-20 teams in the nation, but the first time ranked among the top-10. Last season, the Badgers entered the season ranked No. 11.

“’We talked to our team today about what this all means,’ Snow College head coach Jeff Reynolds said. ‘We clearly understand this has nothing to do with what we have done this season. This ranking is based on what teams over the previous four seasons have done here to help establish our program as one of the top teams in the nation. We respect that and honor those players who have helped build this program. Now, this team has to go to work —with a very large target on our backs — and live up to that ranking.’

Upholding the Badgers’ preseason ranking won’t be easy. Snow will play eight of the top-20 teams throughout the course of the season, including the No. 1 and No. 19 teams this weekend at the New Mexico Military Institute Tournament in Odessa, Texas.

“Snow will open the weekend on Friday, Jan. 22, against Vernon College at 9 a.m., followed by a 7 p.m. match against No. 19 Missouri State West Plains. On Saturday, the Badgers will take on No. 1 and defending National Champion Navarro College at 1 p.m. with a 4 p.m. match against Midland College.

“’We can guess and wonder all year about how good we really are against the top teams in the nation, or we can go play them and see how we stack up,’ Reynolds said. ‘The past two years have been rough experience for us at the national tournament. Playing these ranked teams early will give us the opportunity to see what we need to do to be better prepared in the event we have the opportunity to return to nationals again this year.’

“In Week 2 of the season, Snow College will travel to Sterling, Colo., to face it’s toughest challenge of the preseason with four matches in two days against four nationally-ranked opponents. On January 29, the Badgers will start the day with an 11:30 a.m. match against No. 7 Iowa Western, followed by a 1:30 p.m. contest against No. 3 Seward County. On Saturday, January 30, Snow will face Region XVIII foe No 12 Utah State Eastern at 9 a.m., followed by an 11:30 a.m. match against host Northeastern JC.

“In the final preseason tournament of the season, Snow College will travel to Prescott, Ariz., to face No. 5 Odessa College on February 5, in addition to matches against Eastern Arizona, Arizona Western and Yavapai College.

“’By the time our conference season starts, we will have faced some darn good teams, so hopefully this experience will prepare us for league play as well,’ Reynolds said. ‘After having our season postponed this fall, it’s going to be great to get back out on the court and play.’”

Daily Herald sports reporter Jared Lloyd can be reached at 801-344-2555 or jlloyd@heraldextra.com. Twitter: @JaredrLloyd. Instagram: @JaredrLloyd.

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