By Kristen Williams

The UNLV and the Southern Utah University women’s volleyball teams put on an exciting exhibition in Mesquite for a pre-season scrimmage on Monday night. According to Rising Star Sports Ranch Resort, where the event took place, around 450 people came to watch as the women of UNLV defeated SUU 4-1 at “the Barn,” the indoor sports arena at Rising Star.

Rebels coach Cindy Fredrick has brought her players to Mesquite before, and was excited to have an event like this involving SUU for an additional scrimmage before the season gets started. Fredrick’s personal coaching philosophy of working to develop her athletes into not only the best players they can be but the best people they can be, fits in perfectly with the Rising Star’s own mission as it relates to sports.

The team came to Mesquite on Sunday, and they stayed at the Rising Star while they practiced, competed, and bonded. Bonding is important to a team, especially one with only three returning players from last year to go along with the 10 new players on the roster for UNLV this year.

Staying in the team bunk rooms for three nights, and sharing all their meals together on a road trip like this was a jump start for a team that has only practiced six times together before coming here. Fredrick said the players especially enjoyed time in the hot tub when they were tired and sore. She added how nice it was that every meal was ready for them in the Victory Kitchen, and how every detail was taken care of for their needs.

She called the event a “tremendous success,” and said she’d like to make it a semi-annual event – or at least annual – with SUU, which also has a new, young team.

Competing in front of a crowd like this was a good experience for them as well. Fredrick said some of the women were nervous, which was evident to the spectators when they first took the court.

As the competition went on, they became more comfortable and fired up. The Rebels won four of the five sets in the exhibition, and Fredrick was happy with how the players worked out their nerves. Assistant Coach Mashallah Farokhmanesh is Fredrick’s husband, and the pair has been coaching together for 30 years. They’ve been at UNLV since 2010.

Dubbed “The Battle in the Barn” by the Rising Star, local spectators included Virgin Valley High School’s volleyball and football teams. Yori Ludvigson, the football coach, planned an ice cream social after their first day of school and practice, where the players got together at The Barn just before the exhibition began, for a little bonding of their own.

Lori Barnhum, VVHS volleyball coach, said her players had their first practice right after school before the social. She said watching the women compete was a great opportunity for the girls to see what volleyball can be at the “next level.” She left before the end of the match because this extremely busy day was also her anniversary.

Other local spectators included relatively new year-round residents of Mesquite, Traci Turpin, Nicole Crosthwait and Carl Krall, who moved here from northern Utah for the weather, golf, palm trees, and more. All three are sports fans, and they enjoyed the opportunity to watch the fiery competition. Turpin said she hopes to see more events like this at Rising Star, as they’re always looking for fun things to do, and that Rising Star made this free to the public is a welcome bonus.