NCAA women's volleyball: Utah Valley’s Madison Dennison is throwing a block party
Averaging 1.64 blocks per set and managing to lead the nation in total blocks for most of the season, Utah Valley senior MB Madison Dennison has made her presence felt at the net.
Dennison enters the WAC tournament as the nation's leader with 177 blocks. Her per set average ranks third in the country and her .312 hitting percentage leads the conference.
The Wolverines finished the regular season 14-15 overall and 9-5 in conference play to earn the No. 3 seed in the league tournament starting Thursday.
In her final home match – a 3-1 victory over Chicago State -- Dennison notched six blocks to become UVU's career leader in block assists with 517.
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"I really focus on talking to my side blockers and being very vocal on what I see at the net,” Dennison said. “Also having my teammates tell me what they see, so we know constantly what's going on on the other side. It's nice to have eyes and ears on both sides of me letting me know where the hitter is coming from."
Growing up in Pleasant Grove, Utah, just 10 minutes from campus, the six-footer helped her high school team to back-to-back state championships in 2012 and ‘13. Dennison was named First Team All-State her senior year after posting 254 kills, a .345 hitting percentage and 62 blocks.
Dennison didn't stop there. Her freshman season at Utah Valley, she was named to the WAC All-Freshman Team, averaging 0.88 blocks per set and totaling 99.
As a sophomore, Dennison averaged 1.10 blocks per set and had a total of 108. She also received her first WAC Player of the Week award after recording 11 kills and a career-high .846 hitting percentage in a sweep over Seattle.
Congrats to Madison Dennison for becoming Utah Valley Volleyball's ALL-TIME leader in block assists today with 517 for her career!!! She passed Lauren Bakker's previous record of 512. #GoUVU #WACvb #NCAAvolleyball pic.twitter.com/tjTMZGCpGx— UVU Volleyball (@uvuvolleyball) November 11, 2017
Dennison averaged 1.45 blocks per set and had a total of 174 as a junior in 2016, posting a career-high 12 in a five-set win over California State University Northridge.
"I wanted to win WAC Player of the Week at least twice,” Dennison said about her senior year aspirations. “I won it three times. I also wanted to be the best blocker in the WAC and among the best in the nation. I achieved that goal."
Dennison credits her teammates for her success.
“If I say we need to take angle, or we need to be pressing more, we all learn from each other,” she said. “It's super helpful and no one gets upset for someone else taking the lead. It's easy to win when everyone likes each other."
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Dennison’s coaching staff has also played a huge role.
“They are all very positive and supportive. They care a lot about us as a person and as students, which is helpful when you are in a long season,” she said.
After winning its last two regular season matches, UVU travels to Edinburg, Texas, to play the University of Missouri-Kansas City in the first round of the WAC tournament.
"I would love to win the WAC and make it to the NCAA tournament,” Dennison said.
And for that to happen, her presence at the net will be needed.