Going undefeated through the 2020 season and even the first event of 2021, the Utah Stingers fell behind to third place in the American conference behind the Vegas Ramblers, the Texas Tyrants. Currently, with a record of 6-3 with one match behind the other two teams at 7-2, the Stingers have still managed to tie with 19 FIVB points and even gathering more winning sets at 24-14. Pushing all of their losing matches to five sets, the Utah team made it difficult for other teams to overcome their early success.
The Stingers have played through some grueling five-setters against Team Freedom, Southern Exposure, Ramblers, Stunners, and the Untouchables of the last five of six matches. The team has seen some roster switch-ups with Jake Langlois absent from the Atlantic City event allowing Storm Fa’agata-Tufuga to show off his skills. For Event 3, Hamilton Day ran an impressive offense and defensive performance as he took over for Leo Durkin. Additionally, a brand-new addition of Puerto Rican Lazaro Fernandez in the middle as Rusty Lavaja has yet to return.
Despite their long matches, coach Mike Daniel never seemed to worry about his team’s performance. They showed remarkable resilience through adversity which will surely pay off when the team plays higher stake matches in the finals. The team experimented with some uniquely jaw-dropping lineups, having Jake Langlois play as an all-around middle blocker to increase their back row offensive presence. Although it didn’t pay off in the end, the rest of the league’s teams should be on their toes as the Stingers aren’t afraid to try daring strategies to catch their opponents off guard.
For their next match, the Utah Stingers will play Team Freedom for the first round of the single-elimination playoffs on July 10th. It is sure to be a tight and exhilarating match as the two teams have yet to show total domination over the other. Follow the links below to watch the Stingers’ last game against Team Freedom and purchase tickets for the final event of the 2021 season. Make sure to follow the Utah Stingers (@stingersnvausa) and the NVA (@nvausa) on Instagram to get match and score updates, as well as the best highlights from this season so far. I hope you can be there for all the action live!