El Dorado’s Anna Williams got her initial taste of college volleyball last season at the University of Central Arkansas. The West Side Christian graduate played in 57 sets for the Sugar Bears, who went 12-8 overall and 9-4 in the Southland Conference.
It’ll be a new year with new opponents for UCA, which moves into the ASUN Conference this season. The Sugar Bears open play on Aug. 27 in the Bearkat Invitational in Huntsville, Texas.
“I’m looking forward to playing in a new conference with all new teams. I think it will be interesting to see how we do considering ASUN is a more difficult conference than Southland,” said Williams. “We have seven new freshmen and they add a lot of depth to our team so I can see us doing very well this season. We have been working hard this preseason to change and adjust a few things in our offensive and defensive systems so I can’t wait to see us put together everything we’ve been working so hard on this summer.”
The 6-foot-1 junior setter was second on the team with 282 assists last season along with 87 digs. Williams said she’s becoming more and more comfortable in that role at the Division I level.
“My role as a setter is very important. You could say that I am the quarterback of the team,” she said. “My role is to make smart decisions on who to set and when to set them depending on our opponent’s strengths and weaknesses. It will be very important for me to watch film on our opponents before every game, in order to come up with a successful game plan.”
Williams didn’t play as a freshman before taking on an important reserve role a year ago. She goes from newcomer to veteran quickly with UCA’s roster turnover.
“Being an upperclassman comes with the expectation to be a leader,” she said. “I definitely feel like I’ve taken on more of a leadership position on the team this year and that is something that I look forward to continuing through the rest of my collegiate career.”
UCA opens the season against San Diego State and Houston Baptist.
The ASUN includes Bellarmine, Eastern Kentucky, Florida Gulf Coast, Jacksonville University, Jacksonville State, North Alabama, North Florida, Liberty, Kennesaw State, Lipscomb and Stetson.